Donaldson hopes to send seniors out on high note against Ohio Northern

Last week was a rough game for Heidelberg, and for numerous reasons.

The 17-13 loss to John Carroll dropped the Student Princes to 6-3, and eliminated them from the Division III postseason picture.

But for HU coach Scott Donaldson, it was more than that.

“Last week was really heartbreaking, not only just losing a game, but losing your last home game, and losing your seniors’ last home game in the Castle,” Donaldson said.

But now Heidelberg needs to put it in the rearview mirror.

The season finale at Ohio Northern today awaits.

“Last week was hard, so the main thing I want to see this week is the team playing for the seniors,” Donaldson said. “We have 21 seniors, it’s actually my first recruiting class as a head coach, so these guys mean a lot to me and mean a lot to this team. We want to send them out on a high note. The record, finish, who cares? We want to make sure we get this win, Being the Bendo Bowl makes it that much more special.”

The “Bendo Bowl” is named in honor of a pair of late assistant coaches, ONU’s Ronnie Bendekovic and Heidelberg’s Jason Bendekovic. The game between the two teams has been called that since Jason’s death in 2010.

For Heidelberg, winning may come down to how well the Princes can contain quarterback Anthony McFadden, who has thrown for 1,724 yards while running for 251 yards.

Ohio Northern comes in 5-4.

“The last five weeks, they’ve been playing extremely well,” Donaldson said. “I think they found their identity on offense, found a personality. McFadden’s a special talent. He’s got an absolute cannon for an arm, and he’s fast as hell, too.”

Ohio Northern also has a terrific tailback in Christiaan Williams, who’s run for 1,279 yards.

“You think about that offense, obviously, Christiaan Williams is phenomenal. He’s one of the best running backs I’ve ever seen in Division III,” Williams said. “But honestly, the (catalyst) for that offense is McFadden, how well he’s been playing lately with his arms and his legs is really scary.”

Trying to keep the tailback and quarterback in check will be a test.

“No. 1, we’ve got to contain the run,” he said. “We’ve got to get them in situations where we know they’re gonna pass, so we can get our athletes on the field.”

Of course, Heidelberg has a strong offense, too, led by quarterback Jimmy Jacobs, tailback Montavious Yearby and receivers Maceo Matthews and Keivon Belcher.

“Ohio Northern’s a very, very aggressive defense,” Donaldson said. “Their playcalling’s very aggressive. We’ve got to take the top off them. We’ve got to be able to hit our deep shots and put our athletes in space and if we can do that, we should be very successful. If they’re hitting Jimmy, and getting after the quarterback a little bit there, we’re gonna be in for a long game.”

Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m.