No. 24 Heidelberg trounces Muskies, setting up showdown with Mount

NEW CONCORD –A big play on offense.

A big play on defense.

Less than four minutes in, and Heidelberg was on its way.

Tyler Stoyle hit receiver Demetrius Magee for a two-yard touchdown to cap the Student Princes first offensive possession with 11:45 left in the first quarter. Trace Reynolds then converted a two-point conversion, and the Student Princes led Muskingum, 8-0.

Fourteen seconds later, Heideberg struck again.

With Muskingum facing a first and 10 at its 36, quarterback Brody Hahn attempted a handoff.

He attempted one. HU defensive lineman Verontae Wilkinson was there to meet him.

“Verontae’s play was unbelievable,” said Heidelberg coach Scott Donaldson. “He actually took a handoff.”

Wilkinson took the ball from the Muskingum quarterback and ran 36 yards for a touchdown. Heidelberg led 15-0.

As it turned out, those points were all the Student Princes needed, although they continued to add on, dismantling the Muskies 36-13. Heidelberg, the No. 24 team in Division III, improved to 4-0, 3-0 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. It will host the No. 2 team in the country, Mount Union, next week.

“We’ve done what we can do at this point to position ourselves,” Donaldson said. “We’ve got to come out and have a great week of practice, and execute next week, and let the chips fall where they may.”

Saturday’s game wasn’t quite as easy for Heidelberg as the score suggests. After Hahn hit Damon Jones for a 3-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter, the Muskies were down just 15-7.

“(The lead) was a tribute to how our guys came out,” Donaldson said. “Now, the problem is, we couldn’t sustain that level of intensity for the whole game.”

Part of the problem were injuries. Donaldson said the Princes were without three starters on their offensive line.

Nonetheless, Heidelberg did score a big touchdown right before the half.

Following a Muskingum missed field goal with less than three minutes left, Stoyle engineered a seven-play, 80-yard drive, which culminated in a Cameron Vocke six-yard jaunt to the end zone.

“That was huge, being able to stop them and then roll off a big drive to go up 22-7,” Donaldson said.

In the third quarter, Heidelberg put the game away with a pair of touchdown passes from Stoyle to Magee. The first was a 20-yard strike on the first possession of the third quarter, and second — a 29-yard connection — came on the period’s final play.

Stoyle had another monster afternoon, completing 28 of 47 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns. Magee had seven catches — three touchdowns — for 111 yards, Meanwhile, HU receiver Tony Morris had eight catches for 161 yards.

Overall, Stoyle found six different receivers. Meanwhile, Heidelberg ran for just 78 yards.

“Credit coach (Ethan Wetzel), their defensive coordinator,” Donaldson said. “He did a really phenomenal job scheming against the run, but that opened up the pass lanes.”

Muskingum’s (1-4, 0-4 OAC) top offensive player was Jones, who had 10 catches for 110 yards and two TDs. Muskingum’s tacked on a touchdown with 8:28 left in regulation when Hahn found Jones from 13 yards out.

Hahn finished 26-44 for 263 yards. He was sacked four times and was intercepted twice by Jermaine Burkett. Burkett also had a pick in last week’s win over John Carroll.

Like Heidelberg, Muskingum struggled to get its running game going. The team only had 91 yards on the ground, and Hahn was the leading rusher, with 39 yards.