DEFIANCE, OHIO – The Defiance College football team dropped a heart breaker Saturday afternoon in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action at Justin F. Coressel Stadium, falling to Hanover 37-29.
The Yellow Jackets (2-6 overall, 2-4 HCAC) finished the contest with 387 total yards of offense including 323 passing yards and 64 rushing. Defiance was led in the contest by freshman Carl Stokes (Merrillville, Ind./East Chicago Central) with 174 yards on nine targets. Junior Corey Bennett (Tampa, Fla./Blake) tallied 102 yards on the ground with 23 carriers.
The Defiance College defense posted a strong statement early as freshman Cody Drumm-Turner (Homer, Mich.) picked off Panther quarterback on the opening drive to set-up the Purple and Gold. Freshman Logan Mico (Grosse Point Park, Mich.) capitalized on the Hanover miscue taking the DC offense 75 yards on seven plays including a 56 yard completion to sophomore DeVonte Cravin (Ama, La./Hahnville) for the go ahead score, 7-0.
On the succeeding drive, Hanover responded moving the ball 59 yards for the chip shot from Panther kicker, Austin Steurer, 7-3. The Panther offense finally began to find its groove as they captured their first lead of the contest early in the second half following a 29 yard scamper, 9-7.
However, with 12:29 remaining in the first half, the Yellow Jacket offense went on the attack traveling 62 yards on seven plays including a hook up between Mico and Stokes that landed Defiance inside the Panther 20 yard line. Bennett would get the job done on the ground as he grinded out a 12 yard run that led to another DC score, 14-9.
The Hanover offense responded on the following drive answering the bell with a nine play, 67 yard drive that put the Panthers back on top 16-14. After a Yellow Jacket three-and-out, the Hanover ground game dealt affective as Shawn Coane rushed for 31 yards and another HC score. The Panthers closed out the half with one last score to claim the 30-14 halftime advantage.
Defiance finished the first half with 144 total yards of offense, including 108 through the air. Bennett led the Yellow Jacket offense with 10 carries for 39 total yards.
The second half saw several stalled drives early before the DC offense began to click behind the power of Bennett. The Yellow Jacket defense halted a Panther 10 play 42 yard drive, paving the way for the offense. DC took the following drive 74 yards including a grinding 26 yard run by Bennett that placed Defiance within the Panther five yard line. However, a DC miscue on fourth down would stall the drive and force a turnover on downs.
The Yellow Jacket defense came up huge late in the third quarter forcing another three-and-out swinging momentum in favor of the Purple and Gold.
Mico answered piloting the Defiance attack 44 yards over a four minute span for the score. The drive included back-to-back connections between Mico and a leaping Stokes to cut the deficit to 30-22.
However, the Panthers tallied its first touchdown of the second half as Chase Lightfoot found Coane streaking the sideline for the 42 yard catch and score, 37-22.
The ensuing possession, Defiance took the pig skin the length of the field before the Panther red zone defense was able to force a DC fumble. However, the Hanover drive saw a hiccup on the following drive as junior Beau Barkley (Fort Wayne, Ind./Churbusco) laid a thunderous hit that forced a Panther fumble. The ball found itself in the hands of junior Cody Brown (Grass Lake, Mich.) for the 2 yard score, 37-29.
The Yellow Jackets defense came up huge late in the fourth as they forced a Hanover punt putting DC in the driver seat. The Defiance drive began on the Purple and Gold 10 yard line and opened with rushes by Bennett. Mico would find Stokes on third down for a 35 yard connection over the middle of the field to put DC inside Hanover territory. The Yellow Jackets continued to pressure the Panthers defense as Mico and Stokes played déjà vu connecting for another 33 yard completion putting the Purple and Gold inside the 10 yard line. Hanover, however, made a strong statement forcing a turnover on downs en route to the 37-29 victory.
Defiance returns to action Saturday, November 4 as they travel to Mount St. Joseph. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m.