HIRAM, Ohio – September 14, 2019 – Down 21-0 midway through the third quarter, the Hiram Terriers football team fought back, cutting the deficit to just 11 early on in the fourth, but the Terriers fell, 36-12, to the No. 25-ranked Wittenberg Tigers on Saturday in their North Coast Athletic Conference opener at Charles A. Henry Field.
Hiram won the toss and deferred to the second half, quickly forcing a Wittenberg three-and-out. The two sides traded three-and-outs before the Terriers got things going offensively with an eight-play, 38-yard drive that sputtered out just past midfield.
Wittenberg, starting from their own 26, responded with the first scoring drive of the day. Bobby Froehlich completed six passes over the 10-play, 74-yard drive, before punching it in from one-yard out for the score, giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
After the next two Terrier drives ended in punts and a missed field goal by the Tigers, Wittenberg put together the makings of another touchdown drive. Starting at their own 40, the Tigers drove down to the Hiram 19 on 14 plays. But on 4th-and-7, Horace Johnson intercepted Froehlich, returning the interception 36 yards to the Terrier 44-yard line.
Neither team could get much going the rest of the half, and the Terriers headed into the locker room down by just seven.
Hiram got the ball to start the second half, but after a quick three-and-out, the Tigers extended their lead. Froehlich led Wittenberg on a 11-play, 43-yard touchdown drive, rushing in from two-yards out for his second score of the day.
Another three-and-out gave Wittenberg the ball on their own 41, and Froehlich found Erik Anderson from 35-yards out for another score, extending the Tigers' lead to 21-0.
This time though, the Terriers found a response with Rodney Myers Jr. in at QB. Myers Jr. found Moe Yarbrough over the middle for 44-yards to start the drive, before hitting Tahj Lorthridge down the sideline for a 30-yard score, cutting Wittenberg's lead to 21-6.
However, Wittenberg blocked Bailey McDermott's extra point and Danny Foster returned it for a score, extending the Tigers' lead to 23-6.
After a Wittenberg three-and-out, Hiram drove right back into Tigers' territory on Bryson Butler 67-yard rush, putting the Terriers' just outside the red zone. However, two plays later, Jacquarias Wall fumbled the exchange from Myers Jr., and Wittenberg recovered.
Hiram's defense stood strong though, forcing another three-and-out. But once again, the Terriers fumbled in the red zone and Wittenberg recovered.
Once again though, Hiram's defense came up big. After a two-yard rush by Jaheem Washington, Jordan Jones intercepted Froehlich's pass, taking it in from 11-yards out for a score to cut Wittenberg's lead to 23-12. Once again though, the Terriers missed the extra point.
The two sides again traded three-and-outs, before Washington found the end zone for the first time on the day, breaking through the Terriers' defense for a 30-yard score to extend the lead to 29-12.
Hiram responded with another potential scoring drive, moving the ball to just outside the red zone. But a pair of sacks pushed Hiram out of range, and an incomplete pass on 4th-and-25 gave Wittenberg the ball back.
Washington again found the end zone, this time from 37-yards, capping a five-play, 60-yard drive to put the game out of reach for the Terriers, 36-12.
And with Myers Jr. on the sideline, Hiram's last drive sputtered out, allowing Wittenberg to go to victory formation to seal the 36-12 win.
Myers Jr. went 4-for-10 for 117-yards and a TD, while McNamara went 4-for-13 for 66 yards. Butler led the Terriers on the ground, rushing for 113-yards and 15 carries, while Yarbrough led Hiram in receiving with four catches for 103-yards.
Lorthridge caught the lone touchdown pass of the day for Hiram, catching 4 passes for 56-yards and a TD.
Defensively, Glenn Rushing and Horace Johnson each led Hiram with 13 tackles, while Johnson added two tackles for a loss and an interception. Ashaad Curry added a sack, while Jones led Hiram with five pass breakups and a pick six.
The Terriers will next travel to Granville, Ohio on Saturday, Sept. 21 to take on the Denison Big Red in another NCAC matchup at 7 p.m. at Deeds Field-Piper Stadium.