Seniors power ’Berg blowout
Student Princes’ coaches empty playbook as Magee, Stoyle have record days against Capital
Brock Riggs stood in the center of the field, and was told by Heidelberg’s graduate assistant, Marissa Smego, to hold on — the left tackle was wanted for a postgame interview.
“I thought the other guys would overshadow me,” the Heidelberg senior said, “Didn’t the other guys break records?”
Riggs was right.
Demetrius Magee caught five touchdown passes Saturday against Capital, a single-game HU record. He also surpassed Michael Preston’s career touchdown mark, finishing with 32.
Quarterback Tyler Stoyle tied Andrew Miller’s single-game TD pass mark by throwing seven.
Heidelberg offensive standout Cam Vocke was also showcased. He ran in a touchdown, threw for a touchdown, and even punted in the fourth quarter.
Even kicker Austin Baker, a Clyde graduate, tied a school record by going 9 for 9 on points-after-touchdowns.
So what was it that made Riggs stand out in Heidelberg’s 63-20 win over the Crusaders at Hoernemann Stadium?
A play in the third quarter. With Heidelberg leading 42-20 and with the ball on the Crusaders’ 14, Stoyle took the snap and rolled right. Then, the quarterback turned and threw across his body to Magee at the 11. Rather than moving forward with the ball, Magee pitched it back to Riggs, who had run up to his left side.
Riggs then ran 11 yards, untouched, flipping into the end zone in celebration.
“When you have an offensive lineman as your coordinator,” Heidelberg coach Scott Donaldson said, referencing Jason Lewis, “any opportunity he can to get an offensive line touchdown, he’s going to try.”
To that point, Riggs said this wasn’t the first time the gadget play had been attempted.
“So, last year, at Capital, we made a trick play for me to score,” Riggs said.
It didn’t work. Stoyle was intercepted.
“So, he swore he’d never run a trick play to me, ever again,” Riggs said. “But actually, in the locker room after that, when we came back, he said if I came back (to play in ’17) I’ll get a touchdown.
“Today, we made that come to fruition.”
It was one of the more surprising plays of the day, though it had competition. Early in the second quarter, with HU leading 14-13 and with the ball at the Capital 17, Vocke took a snap with an empty backfield. Heidelberg had run this formation a few times earlier in the game, but Vocke had simply run the ball.
But this time was different. Vocke took the snap and threw to Magee for a touchdown.
“Vocke does everything,” Donaldson said of the senior, who ran for 82 yards, caught a pass for five yards and booted a 32-yard punt. “He was actually begging me to get in on defense, but I wouldn’t let him.”
Stoyle and Magee, meanwhile, put on a show. Stoyle completed 31 of 43 passes for 419 yards. He wasn’t intercepted.
“I’m so proud the way Stoyle took the team on his back and finished the season the right way,” Donaldson said. “He took us on his back and did an unbelievable job.”
Magee had 10 catches for 138 yards. Half of his catches touchdowns.
“I kinda thought it would (be a special day),” Magee said. “From the beginning of the game, I just had this feeling like, it was about to go off.”
And it did. The Student Princes finished with 583 yards of total offense, thanks in part to Magee’s super collegiate finale.
“He’s pretty good, I wish I had him another year,” Donaldson said. “These guys have been doing this all year, and I’m so happy to see them be able to keep it up and do it one last time.”
It was a big day for a number of Heidelberg receivers. Tony Morris, another senior, hauled in seven passes for 126 yards and a score. Braden Jerome had seven catches, amassing 98 yards and one touchdown.
While the game turned into a blowout, it didn’t start that way. The Heidelberg defense struggled to contain Capital quarterback Thomas Wibbeler, who threw a TD pass to Dartavious Stanford on the Crusaders first possession, then capped their second by running in a score from eight yards out.
The Crusaders led, 13-7 after one.
“I can’t take anything away from them. That’s an extremely good offense with an unbelievable quarterback, and we knew we were going to give up some points,” Donaldson said.
Wibbeler finished 22 of 44 passing for 274 yards. He threw another touchdown pass, this one to Trey Reese in the third quarter.
But by that time the game was a rout. A 28-0 Heidelberg spurt in the second quarter saw to that, and Capital finished the season 1-9.
“Our defense did calm down after that second drive, we got some stops,” Donaldson said. “And I think we were a little too juiced up for the seniors today, but we calmed down, and we were able to come away with a W.”
Jermaine Burket and Austin Crow had eight tackles each for the ‘Berg defense. Crow, a senior, added a sack and five tackles for a loss, which included a stop in the backfield on the game’s final play. Columbian graduate Donovan Walker had two tackles.
Heidelberg finished the season 7-3.
Donaldson, who finished his second season as head coach, thanked his 19 seniors, not just for this season, but for the last few years.
“I can’t tell you enough about these guys,” Donaldson said. “We could go through individually, but as a whole group, every class after this class with be standing on their shoulders. They did so much for us, and so much for me personally as a head coach … they made this transition so easy, I can’t thank them enough.”