Fresh off their first win in almost three years, the Lords football team came into their home opener against Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) with renewed confidence. Despite the optimism, the Lords could neither snap their active eight-game losing streak to the Battling Bishops nor their active 24-game North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) losing streak.
The Lords started the game in much better shape than they had against Catholic University (D.C.) a week earlier. Both teams’ defenses showed up for the majority of the first half, and the Lords played the Bishops to a virtual stalemate, only down 7-0 for the majority of the first half.
However, with just over two minutes left in the first half, the game quickly got away from the Lords. The Bishops had a 4th-and-10 from the Lords’ 37-yard line. Bishop quarterback and punter Zane Ries started backing up as if to punt, but went under center to either try a pooch punt or to go for the 4th-down conversion attempt. The Lords were thrown off guard, and Ries slung the ball out to the wide right to his receiver Kenny Streb. Streb took the screen and immediately looked downfield, finding tight end Cody Brown streaking down the field unguarded. Brown walked into the end zone effortlessly. The back-breaking play put the Bishops up 14-0, and an interception on the following drive allowed them to put up one more touchdown, turning what could have been a 7-0 game into a 21-0 game by halftime.
To start the second half, the Bishops scored a touchdown on three of their next four drives to go up 42-0. In the fourth quarter, both teams sent in their secondary units, allowing depth players to get some of their first snaps of the season. With their second-unit offenses, neither team scored again, cementing the final score at 42-0.
On the bright side, Lords quarterback Thomas Merkle’s ’20 132 passing yards were able to move him from fifth place to third place on the NCAC all-time leaderboard. Merkle (8,702) currently needs 688 yards to catch Earlham’s Justin Rummell (9,390) for second place and would need 2,637 more after that to surpass OWU’s Mason Espinosa (11,069) for first. He will need to average 296 yards a game for the remainder of the season to reach that mark.
This Saturday, the Lords will face DePauw University at noon on McBride Field.