DEFIANCE, OHIO -- The Defiance College defense scored a pair of touchdowns to lead the Yellow Jacket football team to their first win of the season with a 19-14 showing against Hanover (Ind.) College in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference game at Justin F. Coressel Stadium.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first half. The only points of the opening quarter came on a 16-yard touchdown run by Hanover (0-4, 0-2 HCAC) with 5:32 to go to lead, 7-0, after the first stanza.
Defiance (1-3, 1-1 HCAC) forced Hanover to punt on its first possession of the second quarter, but would be pinned at its own 16-yard line. On the very first play from scrimmage, a Yellow Jacket fumble that was recovered by the Panthers in the endzone increased the margin to 14-0 with 11:46 remaining in the half. Late in the quarter following a Defiance three-and-out, junior defensive back Kenny Jones (Toledo/Bowsher) stepped in front of an errant pass on the first play of the Hanover ensuing drive which led to a 29-yard field goal by freshman Tyler L'Heureux (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) at the 1:49 mark to get DC on the scoreboard, 14-3. On Hanover's next possession, the DC defense forced another turnover, this time with a fumble that was recovered by sophomore Markell Moncrief (Detroit, Mich./Southfield Lathrup) who scampered 19 yards for a Defiance touchdown to narrow the gap to 14-9. The fumble return for TD was the final points of the half as the Yellow Jackets trailed by only five points at the break.
Early in the third quarter, Defiance had its first drive come to an end by way of an interception that was initially returned for a Panther touchdown, but an illegal block by Hanover negated the score and kept the game at a five-point deficit for the Yellow Jackets. On the second play of the Panther drive, Jones intercepted his second pass of the game and returned it 10 yards for the Defiance TD, giving the Yellow Jackets the lead, 16-14, with 9:23 remaining the period. Jones' TD was the second time this season he has found the endzone defensively. He had a 90-yard fumble return in the season opener against Adrian (Mich.). Neither team added any points the rest of the quarter as DC maintained a two-point edge heading into the fourth quarter.
DC gained some breathing room at the 10:52 mark of the final period when L'Heureux connected on a 30-yard field goal that capped a 13-play, 65-yard drive that began just before the end of the third quarter to make the score 19-14. Hanover would have one final chance to take the lead with a little over a minute to go, but the drive ended with another Yellow Jacket defensive takeaway on an interception by sophomore Jerome Davis (Jupiter, Fla./Jupiter) that sealed the victory for DC with a final score, 19-14.
Defiance had a modest day offensively in total yardage, but did rush for 159 yards in the game. Freshman quarterback Andre Adderly (West Palm Beach, Fla./Village Academy) had a game-high 63 yards on 22 carries to lead all rushers. Junior Cody Wilson (McComb) was second with 51 yards on seven carries.
The story of the game was the DC defense as the Yellow Jackets held its opponent to a minus 43 yards rushing and just 109 total yards of offense. The Yellow Jackets also had a total of seven sacks. Moncrief, senior Andrew Feldhaus (Lutz, Fla./Steinbrenner) and junior Keandre Gilmer (Toledo/Rogers) led the team in tackles with seven each. Feldhaus and Gilmer also had two tackles for loss each and both also recorded a sack. In addition, Moncrief added a fumble recovery.
Hanover was led offensively by quarterback Zachary Donan who completed 21-of-40 passes for 152 yards, but tossed four interceptions. Rick Windell led all receivers with game-highs of seven catches for 94 yards.
Defiance will have its "bye" week next week and will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 10 when the Yellow Jackets host Manchester (Ind.) University in a HCAC game at Coressel Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.