On Sept. 30, the Wittenberg Tigers Football Team took down the visiting Denison Big Red. The Tigers dominated for the first half and then held on to take a 28-12 victory.
Last year, Denison handed Wittenberg their only loss of the regular season.
“We knew going into the game they were a high powered offense that had some good athletes,” Keenan Wilson, ‘18 and defensive back, said. “We had a great focus this week in practice. As a team, we were really locked into our game plan and knew it would take all 60 minutes in order to get the win.”
The Tigers came out of the gate ready for revenge. On the first series, Brandon Daniels, ‘18, came up with a huge sack and forced fumble, which was recovered by Wilson. DeShawn Sarley, ’19, kept the momentum going with a huge 41-yard romp into the end zone on the first play of the drive. After the extra point was scored, Denison received the kick and began its next series.
Both teams was locked at a 7-0 score heading into the second quarter. At the beginning of the second quarter, Jeff Tiffner, ’18, opened things up by making a tough catch to give Wittenberg great field position. Jake Kennedy, ’19, completed the drive with a beautiful pass through coverage to Liam Duncan, ’19, for the touchdown.
Denison took the ball and slowly marched up the field to get into great scoring position. Jay Mastin, ‘18, came up huge with an interception in the red zone to stop the drive. However, this did not last long as on the very next play, Kennedy threw an interception of his own on a deep pass intended for Tiffner. Denison again made their way into the red zone and looked to be primed for a score of their own. However, the Tiger defense dominated with two phenomenal run stops and a QB hurry by Daniels that limited the Big Red to a field goal.
Wittenberg received the ball in the waning minutes of the second quarter. In a series highlighted by a 25-yard completion to Tiffner, the Tigers were again in scoring position. Kennedy again found Duncan, who got open by running a pristine route, for the 19-yard touchdown. This set up to give the Tigers a 21-3 lead heading into the half.
Denison came out of halftime awakened and immediately looked to dominate the Tigers’ offense. On the first series of the drive, Denison forced Wittenberg into a 3-and-out. From here, the Big Red marched down the field and again were into the red zone. Joshua Paul, ’20, made a huge play by getting around the offensive guard to force a QB hurry. The Tigers’ defense again held Denison to a field goal.
The two teams remained locked at 21-6 through the rest of the third quarter and most of the fourth quarter. During this time, Denison continually made their way into the red zone with the Tigers’ defense getting a stop every time.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, Mastin came up with his second interception of the day, returning it for 35 yards to keep the Tigers firmly ahead. This set the Tigers up for another touchdown orchestrated by superb blocking by the offensive line to open a lane for Nick Kendall, ’20, to run the ball in from yards out. In the waning seconds of the game, Denison was able to catch the Tigers off guard with a pass play to score their only touchdown of the game. Wittenberg made up for their mistake on the PAT with a block and recovery. This ended the game with a score of 28-12.
“We have a lot to improve on still,” Chandler Ferko, ‘18 and defensive end, said. “As a team, we are going to continue to clean up the little things each week. In order to be a great team you have to do all the little things right, and that’s something that we look to do each and every week.”
The football team is back home on Oct. 14 against Allegheny.