Reed leads Findlay past Dragons

Verlon Reed wasn’t perfect.

But when you have as much ability as the Findlay quarterback – a transfer from Ohio State – does, you don’t have to be.

Reed overcame a pair of first half interceptions to throw for 347 yards and two touchdowns, and the Oilers pulled away from Tiffin in a 35-14 win.

“To throw for 347 and four touchdowns isn’t a bad day,” said Findlay coach Rob Keys, whose team moved to 4-2. “If he can do that every week, I think I’d take it.”

Reed completed passes to five different receivers, two of whom went over 100 yards on the day. Lloyd Henry was Reed’s favorite target, catching 10 passes for 119 yards, while Luke Hampton caught two long touchdown passes for 110.

And on top of that, Findlay running back Daiquone Ford rushed for 151 yards on four carries, adding a touchdown late.

But if it sounds like a blowout, it wasn’t.

Tiffin scored first when quarterback Antonio Pipkin threw a swing pass out to Tyler Jones. The play capped a 75-yard touchdown drive, and TU went up 7-0.

It could have been more.

On the ensuing Findlay possession, Reed was picked by Tiffin strong safety Brandon Person. The Dragons’ offense drove the ball to the Findlay 30, but on fourth-and-four, Pipkin’s throw to the right corner of the end zone over-shot Jones, who appeared to have a step on the defender.

Findlay proceeded to drive deep into TU territory, but another turnover – this time a Ford fumble at the TU 13 – halted the drive.

But again, Tiffin didn’t capitalize on its good fortune. Three plays later, it punted.

“They showed a few different looks there [defensively], we got rattled a little bit,” said Tiffin coach Gary Goff. “We needed to calm down right there. It’s going to be a learning curve.”

The Oilers finished their next drive, as Reed hit a wide open Hampton over the middle for a 55-yard TD. The game was tied at seven with about 10 minutes left in the half.

The Dragons punted again on their next possession, only to once again force a turnover. Reed was intercepted at midfield by Carlton Watkins.

But again, Tiffin went three-and-out.

Findlay broke the tie just before half, when Reed found an open Henry for a 29-yard touchdown. The Oilers led 14-7 at the half.

Findlay had a chance to extend its lead early in the third, but Josh Rode missed a 22-yard field goal. After more than a quarter of being shut down, Tiffin’s offense got rolling. Pipkin was 6 for 6 passing on an 80-yard march, and McComb product Jerry Brown tied things when he took a handoff and went three yards for a touchdown.

“The blocking was amazing, I didn’t even get touched,” Brown said of his score.

Brown finished with 65 yards rushing and five catches for 36 yards. Pipkin finished with 245 passing yards.

TU had the momentum, and things looked even better for the Dragons when they forced a Findlay punt.

But starting from its own 42, the Dragons stalled. On a third and six, Pipkin went to pass, but was forced back by Oilers pressure. He was sacked by end Mitchell Campbell back at the 29, a loss of 17 yards.

After that, a high snap to punter Seth Pekoe affected his kick. The ball went 28 yards out of bounds, and the Oilers had the ball at their 43.

Two plays later, Reed lofted a 57-yard pass to Hampton for the go ahead touchdown.

“All the way up until the fourth quarter, I thought it was an even played game on both sides,” Goff said.

But the fourth quarter, and the game, belonged to the Oilers, as they added two more touchdowns to put things away.

Tiffin fell to 1-5.