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Heidelberg’s Gephart throws 6 TDs in romp

Student Princes set program record by making 37 first downs vs. Adrian

ADRIAN, Mich. — Throughout the leadup to Saturday’s season opener at Adrian, Heidelberg coach Scott Donaldson continually expressed confidence in Jimmy Gephart, the program’s new starting quarterback.

But even Donaldson couldn’t have predicted how well the senior — and his team would play when given their first opportunity.

“Jimmy, just… wow,” Donaldson said after watching Gephart complete 25 of 35 passes for 322 yards and six touchdowns in Heidelberg’s 57-7 win over the Bulldogs. “I knew he was gonna be good, gonna be able to run the offense with efficiency, but just the way he handled everything was unbelievable.”

Gephart connected with seven receivers Saturday. His favorite target was Keivon Belcher, who caught eight throws for 106 yards and three touchdowns. Maceo Matthews also was prominently featured, with seven grabs for 99 yards and two scores,

Dimitri Penick caught Gephart’s other touchdown throw.

“Obviously, the receivers helped, getting open as much as they did,” Donaldson said, “but Jimmy was just on-point.”

So was the running game and the offensive line. Branden Short carried the ball 26 times for 116 yards, and Montavious Yearby had 11 rushes for 76 yards and a touchdown.

“Short did a great job, but it’s a whole credit to our offensive line,” Donaldson said. “The offensive line did an unbelievable job today, in both run blocking and pass blocking. (Adrian) did some unorthodox things up front that we weren’t prepared for, and they handled them extremely well, and Jimmy really didn’t get touched much of the game.”

This one was over early. In the game’s first 6 ½ minutes, the Student Princes had already scored three touchdowns, and they led 30-0 after one quarter.

It was 44-7 at the half.

Heidelberg’s defense was almost equal to its offense. It sacked Bulldog quarterback Jack Wurzer three times, and HU corner Tramon Wiley — in his first game at the position — secured a pair of interceptions.

“Defense came out and executed,” Donaldson said. “They did what they needed to do, really limiting the running game, and forced them to throw the ball, and that’s where our strength’s lie.”

Donaldson singled out Wiley for his play.

“A guy that had a great camp,” he said. “The guys kept pressure on the quarterback the whole time. We just kept pressure on them.”

The Student Princes also excelled on special teams. Punter Parker Smith landed all four of his attempts inside the Adrian 20, and Yearby returned a kickoff 87 yards.

“I tell you what gets lost in the stat line is how well we did on special teams,” Donaldson said. “The special teams did an unbelievable job of getting us great field position every time we had a chance to.”

The Student Princes had 591 yards of total offense, while limiting the Bulldogs to 228. Heidelberg also set a program record with 37 first downs.

Donaldson said he hopes the performance carries over to next week, when the Princes host Wilmington.

“(Saturday’s performance) does make me confident that we have kids we know can make big plays,” Donaldson said.

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