Eagles defeat Panthers on 96th Homecoming, 30-27

Ashland University Quarterback Austin Brenner during the Homecoming game

AU ATHLETICS

Ashland University Quarterback Austin Brenner during the Homecoming game

Dean Paolucci

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The 96th Homecoming game for the Ashland University football team ended with an Ashland victory, defeating the Davenport University Panthers by a score of 30-27.

The win gives the Eagles a third straight win, while also improving the team to a 4-2 record and 3-1 in GLIAC play.

The game between the Eagles and Panthers was slow to start, with neither team scoring in the first quarter of play.

The tide quickly changed in favor of Davenport in the second quarter, when the Panthers were able to get the first score of the game on a 2-yard touchdown run by redshirt senior wide receiver Keion Powers with six minutes remaining in the first half.

The Panthers were then able to get another score two minutes later, off of a 99-yard touchdown pass from redshirt junior quarterback Deondre Ford to redshirt junior wide receiver Ulice Gillard, extending the Panther lead to 13-0.

The Eagles were able to answer, scoring on the next play following the 99-yard touchdown pass of the Panthers. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Austin Brenner found redshirt junior wide receiver Logan Bolin on a 75-yard touchdown pass, cutting the Panther lead to 13-6.

The Eagles were able to block a 50-yard field goal attempted by Davenport, caused by redshirt senior defensive tackle Ja’Merez Bowen. The Eagles followed up with a 36 yard field goal by junior kicker Satchel Denton as time expired in the first half, with the Eagles trailing 13-10.

Coming out of the locker room, the Eagles offense was able to score on back-to-back offensive drives. The first touchdown in the second half coming by way of a 35-yard touchdown by freshman tailback Gei’vonni Washington, with Ashland taking a 16-13 lead.

On the following drive, Washington saw the endzone again on a 4-yard touchdown run to increase the Eagle lead to 23-13.

The Eagles remained in control 23-13 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but the Panthers refused to give in. Davenport scored on a 92-yard touchdown pass from Deondre Ford to redshirt junior wide receiver Marquian Johnson, with the Panthers only trailing 23-20 with over 13 minutes remaining in the game.

An Eagles fumble recovery by senior linebacker Clay Shreve gave the Eagles the football back with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The Eagle offense was able to score another touchdown on the day, off of a 2-yard touchdown run by junior fullback Hunter Williams, increasing the lead to 30-20.

The Panthers drove down the field on offense, eventually scoring on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Deondre Ford to redshirt junior wide receiver Daronte Powers, trimming the Eagle lead to 30-27 with four minutes remaining.

The Panthers defense was unable to stop the Eagle offense as Ashland was able to keep the ball and run out the clock, giving the Eagles the 30-27 victory.

The Eagles win marks the first home win for the football team for the 2019 season and the 66th all-time victory for homecoming games.

The week prior to the win against Davenport, Ashland was able to defeat the ninth-ranked Grand Valley State University Lakers off of a Hail Mary from quarterback Austin Brenner to wide receiver Logan Bolin.

Ashland head coach Lee Owens stated that the win against Grand Valley State the week prior might have played a factor in the Eagles slow start against the Panthers.

“I think there was a little bit of a Grand Valley hangover early,” Ashland head coach Lee Owens said. “I think we did the best we could trying to put it away, as quick as we could.”

Freshman tailback Gei’vonni Washington ended the day with 134 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns on 31 total carries, while also assisting on 28 receiving yards on two catches.

Following Saturday, Washington has accumulated 428 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns on 88 total rushing attempts in the last three games for the Eagles.

“It feels good,” Washington said. “I love running behind the offensive line. They make me confident enough to be able to run the ball and be able to score touchdowns.”

The Eagles will travel to Detroit, Mich., to take on the Wayne State University Warriors on Saturday, Oct. 19, with kick-off set for 6 p.m.

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