Heidelberg brings heat, knocks off Baldwin Wallace

The pressure came from all over, all game.

Heidelberg coach Scott Donaldson’s plan coming into Saturday’s game with Baldwin Wallace was to make the Yellow Jacket quarterback, Jake Hudson, uncomfortable.

The plan worked. The Student Princes sacked Hudson seven times, and were credited with 13 tackles for a loss.

And it was Heidelberg’s pressure that led to the game’s decisive play.

Heidelberg led BW, 10-7 with the clock coming up on nine minutes to go in the first half.

Baldwin Wallace had the ball and a first down on its own 28. Hudson took the snap and was being chased by lineman Verondtae Wilkinson. As Hudson managed to get the ball away, it appeared to be tipped by safety Eric Hagedorn, and was intercepted by DB Chris Jones, who took the pass back all the way for a touchdown. Heidelberg went on to win 37-27.

“I saw my teammate, Verondtae, the D-end, it was a bubble and a fade,” Jones said. “So he came in and  tackled the quarterback, and the quarterback let go of the ball. It was up in the air, so I had to go grab it.”

Yellow Jackets’ coach John Snell said the play — which gave Heidelberg a 17-7 lead — was crucial.

“That hurt, because, obviously, we’re in the game,” Snell said. “I think we’re battling back and forth, and that hurt. That was — it might have been the turning point.”

Donaldson agreed.

“That’s a momentum swing right there,” he said. “Anytime a defensive touchdown happens, the momentum swings. That actually calmed down (our) offense.”

The Student Princes added another touchdown just before the half when quarterback Tyler Stoyle connected with Tony Morris on a two-yard completion. ‘Berg went to the half with a 24-7 advantage.

Baldwin Wallace attempted to get back in the game in the third quarter when Hudson broke a 13-yard scoring run, and the Yellow Jackets trailed 24-13 going to the fourth.

Hudson — who did not start the season as the Yellow Jackets primary quarterback, finished completing 17 of 28 passes for 230 yards. He threw a touchdown pass on the game’s final play, a 22-yard strike to Ty Gallo. Hudson also ran for 71 yards.

“He played hard,” Snell said. “He’s young, he’s only a sophomore, and this is only his fourth start. He’s battling.”

BW fell to 2-7. Heidelberg improved to 5-4.

For Heidelberg, Stoyle threw for 257 yards and completed two touchdowns. His first was a 21-yard screen to Branden Short. AJ Morrison kicked three field goals, and senior running back Bryan Lacey — playing in his final home game — ran for 78 yards, which included a 36-yard TD run with 1:44 left in regulation.

“Every time he got in he found an opportunity to make a play,” Donaldson said. “He made our offense go.”

BW got a 42-yard rushing TD from Austin Smith in the first quarter, but the Student Princes defense was pretty steady throughout the game.

And the pressure was constant.Austin Crow — one of the nation’s best linemen — finished with two sacks and four tackles for a loss. Harrison Brown also had a pair of sacks, while Garrett Shutler, Wilkinson and Nick Walsh  each had a sack, and Columbian graduate Chandler Hoover was credited with half a sack.

Now, Heidelberg finishes on the road against Capital, with an opportunity to finish with a winning record.

“Getting to six wins shows improvement; we were 5-5 last year,”  Donaldson said. “It shows improvement but it also gives us momentum going into the off-season.”

It also gives the seniors a chance to go out with a win.

“The seniors deserve it,” Donaldson said.