DANVILLE, KY. -- The Defiance College football team trailed by only two points late in the third quarter against No. 21 nationally-ranked Centre College, but the Colonels scored 15 unanswered points to end the game and sealed a 25-8 victory in non-conference action in Danville, Ky.
The only points of the first half came in the second quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by Centre (2-0) and a 41-yard field goal to end the half for the Colonels. Defiance (0-2) had a 30-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter blocked, but the Yellow Jacket defense contintued to play tough in the early goings of the season as the first quarter also featured a goal line stand that included three plays from its own one-yard line to keep the game scoreless after the first 15 minutes.
The lone touchdown for either team in the second quarter was set up by a blocked Defiance punt which Centre converted into the two-run scamper to go up 7-0. The Colonels would miss on a 37-yard field goal attempt on their next offensive possession that could have extended the margin, but then converted on a 41-yard attempt as time expired to increase the lead to 10-0 at the intermission.
Defiance received the kickoff coming out of the locker rooms and marched 82 yards on 12 plays to find the endzone on a 29-yard pass play from sophomore quarterback Logan Scott (Curtice/Genoa) to freshman wide receiver Nate Roberts (St. Petersburg, Fla./Boca Ciega) with 6:31 left in the third quarter. The Yellow Jackets failed to convert the extra point attempt, however, but cut the deficit to 10-6. The DC defense then came up big again by forcing a Centre turnover on downs on its ensuing possession that included a quarterback sack by junior Keandre Gilmer (Toledo/Rogers) on fourth down to give the ball back to the Jackets. The DC drive stalled and was force to punt, but pinned the Colonels at their own three yard line which led to the Centre running back being stopped in their own endzone on the second play from scrimmage for the safety and Defiance narrowed the gap even further to 10-8 with 5:13 remaining in the frame. Trailing by only a couple of points, a Yellow Jacket fumble at their own 45-yard line, led to a Centre TD just before the end of the quarter to gain some breathing room, 17-8, heading into the fourth quarter.
The two teams traded possessions in early half of the final quarter until the Colonels found paydirt with 4:20 left in the game on a 22-yard TD completion. Centre would go for the two-point conversion following the score and converted to make it a three-possession game, 25-8. Defiance looked to be headed to the endzone late in the quarter on a 10-play drive, but the scoring chance would end on a fourth down play at the Colonel eight yard line which also ended the game as Centre prevailed for the 25-8 final.
Defiance had a slight edge in total offense over Centre with the Yellow Jackets having 324 yards (81 rushing and 243 passing) to the Colonels' 320 yards (114 rushing and 206 passing).
The Colonels were led offensively by quarterback Heath Haden who led the team in both passing, rushing and played a part in all three of Centre's touchdowns. He completed 14-of-29 passes for 206 yards and a TD, while rushing for a game-high 48 yards on 16 carries and scored twice. Noah Dziedzic led the Centre wideouts with 51 yards and three catches. Defensively, Trey Yeager led the way with a game-high 12 tackles (five solo and seven assists).
Defiance was led by the passing attack of Scott and junior receiver Cody Wilson (McComb). Scott completed 23-of-56 passes for a game-high 243 yards and a TD. Wilson had career and game-highs of 12 catches for 116 yards. It also marked his second 100-yard receiving game of his career. Wilson was also the team's leading rusher with 34 yards on three carries. On defense, Gilmer also had a career game with a team-best 10 tackles, including a sack.
The Yellow Jackets will wrap-up their season-opening three-game road trip next Saturday (Sept. 19) when they travel to Cincinnati for a matchup against Mount St. Joseph University in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference opener. The game is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.