With three of their four co-captains sidelined due to injury, Lords football (2-4, 2-3 NCAC) took Ohio Wesleyan University (2-3, 2-2) to double overtime last Saturday, but ultimately fell to the Battling Bishops by a score of 23-20.
Putting the loss behind him, Head Coach Chris Monfiletto hopes the experience the players gained in such a tight ballgame will lend itself to the program’s future success. “Sometimes you have got to be in a tough game, a close game, in order to learn how to win those games,” Monfiletto said. “You can’t simulate that in offseason workouts. You can’t simulate that in practice. That’s something that you have to have experience doing.”
With neither team finding the endzone on their first few drives of the game, Kenyon worked its way deep into OWU territory at the end of the first quarter to break the scoreless tie. Facing a first-and-goal from the OWU two-yard line, co-captain Jake Bates ’16 ran a play-action fake and tossed the ball to Greg McIntosh ’16 in the back of the endzone for the touchdown and the game’s first lead.
After returning the ensuing kickoff to their own 30-yard line, OWU tied the game up on the next play. Catching a pass while running a hitch route, OWU wide receiver Ian Williams eluded a Kenyon defender, turned and dashed 70 yards down the right sideline for the score.
On their next offensive possession, the Lords drove deep into OWU territory, putting themselves in a good position to regain the lead. Facing a fourth-and-seven from the OWU 16-yard line, Szabi Simo ’17 converted a 33-yard field-goal attempt to make the score 10-7.
Later in the second quarter, the Lords found themselves in great field position after an OWU punt returner muffed a Kenyon punt and John O’Brien ’17 pounced on the loose ball at the OWU 33-yard line. Calling on Simo’s kicking services once again, the Lords extended their lead to 13-7 with a 24-yard field goal.
Two possessions later, OWU had a golden opportunity to take the lead after they recovered a Kenyon fumble on the Lords’ 21-yard line. However, Kenyon’s defense forced the Battling Bishops to go three-and-out and OWU kicker Tim Shadoan kicked a 37-yard field goal to make the score 13-10. On OWU’s next drive, Shadoan knocked in another field goal, this one from 27 yards out, to tie the game at 13 before halftime.
The game remained tied until the 13:51 mark in the fourth quarter, when Rob Meagher ’19 barrelled through the OWU defensive line for a two-yard rushing touchdown to make the score 20-13, in favor of Kenyon. Meagher, who ran for 153 yards and logged his first collegiate touchdown in the loss, started as running back in place of injured co-captain Blake Calcei ’16.
Kenyon’s defense, which had dominated the OWU offense for the overwhelming majority of the game, conceded a 64-yard pass with less than eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, giving the Battling Bishops a first-and-goal from the Kenyon one-yard line. OWU ran the ball into the endzone on the next play to tie the game at 20. With neither team able to score again in regulation, the Lords went to overtime for the first time since 2009, when they lost to the University of Chicago by a score of 37-36.
After neither team scored in the first overtime, Kenyon had the ball first to start the second overtime. The Lords were able to work their way all the way down to the one-yard line, but OWU’s defense forced and recovered a Kenyon fumble to take back the ball. On the ensuing possession, Shadoan kicked a 43-yard field goal to end the game.
The Lords will travel to Crawfordsville, Ind. Saturday to take on nationally 10th-ranked Wabash College at 1 p.m.