Another week, another big test for Heidelberg
Before the 2016 season even started, Heidelberg’s first three games read less like an itinerary and more like a minefield.
First came nationally-ranked Cortland State, then rival Ohio Northern, both at home.
The Student Princes split those games, putting on a show in last week’s 45-14 win over the Polar Bears.
A trip to University Heights to play John Carroll today.
“They’re a very good team,” Heidelberg coach Scott Donaldson said.
Like Heidelberg, the Blue Streaks are 1-1, and like the Student Princes, John Carroll just topped a rival – it knocked off Baldwin-Wallace last week.
In some ways, John Carroll has been Heidelberg’s nemesis over the past three years. In 2013 and 2014, losses to the Blue Streaks – both in University Heights – ended Heidelberg’s playoff hopes. And last season, John Carroll spoiled HU’s home opener.
But all of that is in the past.
What Heidelberg has to be concerned about now is the rushing of Sam Kukura, who has gone for more than 200 yards over the first two games, first-year starting quarterback Anthony Moeglin and receiver Marshall Howell.
Donaldson praised Kukura, as well as fellow running back Ro Golphin, as threats.
“They have a stable of running backs that are very good, and their offensive line is probably one of the best we’ve seen this year,” Donaldson said. “The talent’s there. In the skill positions, maybe a couple of new (players), but a lot of the same guys we’ve seen.”
Donaldson called Moeglin a “big arm.”
Moeglin is the brother of former Baldwin Wallace quarterback Tyler Moeglin, but Donaldson said the Blue Streaks’ version has a different skill set.
“Big-time arm,” Donaldson said. “He can run, he’s not a specific runner like his brother was at BW. He can run, though, but if he has time in the pocket, he can make you pay.”
On defense, Donaldson said he likes John Carroll’s front four.
“They’re great against the run, they’re great against the pass,” he said. “They do some different things defensively that you have to prepare for. But that’s been a staple for John Carroll for a long time, is how good their front four always are.”
Donaldson said the Blue Streaks have speed in the secondary, led by Michael Hollins.
“One of the top corners in the league; I think he’s extremely aggressive,” Donaldson said. “They can make you pay for mistakes.”
But Heidelberg comes in with momentum after rolling past Ohio Northern last week. A key to continuing that will be the strong play of Heidelberg’s defensive line.
“The great thing we have right now is depth,” Donaldson said. “Also, we have Austin Crow.”
Crow, a junior, is establishing himself as one of the best linemen in the conference. Through the first two games of the season, Crow has 18 tackles – only sophomore linebacker Trevor Summers has more for HU – and, of that total, half are for a loss. Crow also has three sacks.
“Austin Crow is a freak of an animal,” Donaldson said. “Doesn’t matter if you double-team him, triple-team him, he’s gonna find a way to get to the backfield.”
On offense, Heidelberg will look to keep up what it’s been doing. The team scored 73 points in the first two games behind standout quarterback Tyler Stoyle and an exciting group of receivers, as well as running back Bryan Lacey.
The game kicks off at 1:30 p.m.