DEFIANCE, OHIO - The Defiance College Yellow Jackets host Manchester (Ind.) University in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference game at Justin F. Coressel Stadium at 1:30 p.m. [Complete Game Notes in PDF]
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Saturday's meeting will be the 48th meeting between the two schools. Defiance leads the series record, 28-20.
Last season the Yellow Jackets lost to the Spartans, 37-23, at Carl W. Burt Memorial Stadium in North Manchester, Ind. DC was only down by one point heading into half time with a score of 17-16. In the second half, DC was scored one touchdown to the Spartans' three touchdowns. Turnovers played a role in last year's game as the Yellow Jackets had three fumbles lost.
Scouting the Yellow Jackets
Defiance returns 36 lettermen, including 17 starters in 2015.
After four games this season, the offense is averaging 231.0 yards per game. Sophomore Logan Scott (Curtice/Genoa) is listed as the starter for this week against the Spartans after missing last week's game against Hanover (Ind.) College. To date, Scott has completed 37-of-103 passes for 477 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He has also rushed for 51 yards on 20 carries (2.5 yards per carry).
The Yellow Jackets have a young backfield with freshman Jeff Watson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead) listed as the starter. Coming into this week, Watson has carried the ball 44 times for 78 yards (1.8 yards per carry). Also look for the duo of freshman Tanner Hughes (Pierceton, Ind./Whitko) and junior Cody Wilson (McComb) to see carries. Hughes is fifth on the team with 47 yards on 13 touches, while Wilson has carried the ball 14 times for a team-high 110 yards (7.9 yards per carry).
At the wideout position, look for juniors Cody Wilson, Andy Foore (Swanton) and freshmen Devin Bolden (Lake Worth, Fla./Wellington) and Nate Roberts (St. Petersburg, Fla./Boca Ciega) to start. Wilson leads the team in receiving with 20 catches for 214 yards (10.7 yards per catch) so far this season. Roberts and Foore are tied for second with six catches each. Roberts has 59 yards and one TD and is preceded by Foore with 97 yards. Bolden has two receptions for 26 yards.
On defense, Defiance is currently allowing 3.59.2 yards per game, but has accounted for 10 takeaways this season with six interceptions and four fumbles.
The defensive line will be anchored by seniors Kyle Wilson (Wauseon) and Cody Lee (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson). Kyle Wilson has made 12 total tackles (six solo and six assists) to go along with one sack. Lee has made 13 tackles (six solo and seven assists), including 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Also look for junior Matt DeVore (Van Buren) and sophomore Greg Ward (Ypsilanti, Mich./Ypsilanti) to start alongside Kyle Wilson and Lee.
The linebackers will start junior Keandre Gilmer (Toledo/Rogers) and freshman Jalin Nealy (Pontiac, Mich./West Bloomfield). Gilmer leads the team in tackles with 30 (23 solo and seven assists) and has four tackles for loss, two sacks, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. Nealy is third in tackles with 28 (16 solo and 12 assists). He also has four tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble.
The Jacket secondary is led by junior Kenny Jones (Toledo/Bowsher) and freshman Dalin Brown (Port St. Lucie, Fla./St. Lucie Wester Center) at the corners along with senior Andrew Feldhaus (Lutz, Fla./Steinbrenner), junior Cody Wiggins (Howell, Mich./Howell) and sophomore Jacob Bickel (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran) at the safety positions. Jones is fifth on the team in tackles with 17 (12 solo and five assists). He leads the team in interceptions with two and also has one fumble recovery against Adrian which he returned for a touchdown. Brown has made six stops (five solo and one assist). Feldhaus is second in tackles with 29 (21 solo and eight assists) to go along with three tackles for loss and a sack. Wiggins has made four tackles to go along with a tackle for loss and an interception. Bickel has added nine tackles (six solo and three assists) and has one INT.
On special teams, freshman Tyler L'Heureux (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) will handle the place kicking duties, while junior Tom Woehnker (Kendallville, Ind./East Nobel) will be the team's starting punter. L'Heureux is four-of-six in both field goal attempts and extra point opportunities for a team-best 16 points scored. Woehnker has punted the ball 25 times and is averaging 38.4 yards per punt. He has recorded four punts over 50 yards and has pinned the opponent inside their 20-yard line on four ocassions as well.
Scouting the Spartans
The Manchester offense has been averaging 445.5 total yards per game through four games this season.
Calling the plays for the Spartans will be senior Logan Haston. Coming into this week's game, Haston has completed 81-of-119 passes for 917 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. He has also carried the ball 31 times for 73 yards (2.4 yards per carry) and has one score.
Expect to see the Spartans line up with one person in the backfield as a running back with sophomore Hunter Hardee getting the start. Hardee leads the team and the HCAC in rushing with 452 yards (6.3 yards per carry) and has found the endzone five times as a ball carrier. He is averaging 113.0 yards rushing per game. As a receiver, Hardee has caught eight passes for 88 yards and a pair of scores.
At the wide receiver position, look for junior Dakota Nelson and seniors Evan Rice and Jarron Jackson to start. Nelson is currently second on the team in both receptions (18) and yards (186) and has one TD. Rice is third with 13 catches for 126 yards and Jackson has added five receptions for 29 yards. In addition, Manchester will line up with one tight end to provide Haston with another target in junior Brandon Webb getting the nod. Webb is the team leader in receptions with 20 for a team-best 276 yards and a TD.
Defensively, Manchester is allowing 472.5 yards per game (201.2 rushing and 271.2 passing).
The Spartans line up in a traditional 4-3 scheme, and will start four upperclassmen in senior Dustin Kult and juniors Cole Sellers, Zach Rudolf and Daniel Heim. Heim leads all linemen in tackles with 19 (seven solo and 12 assists), including a team-high 3.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
At linebacker, Manchester will start juniors Jordan Kleber, Nathan Birk and sophomore Mitchell Oskam. Birk is tied for the team-lead in tackles with 35 (16 solo and 19 assists) to go along with a 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery.
The secondary will feature sjunior Jarvis Mitchell and freshman Dylan Bina-James at the corners and senior Taylor Anglemyer and freshman Dillon Nelson at the safety positions. Bina-James is fourth in tackles with 26 (12 solo and 14 asissts), while Anglemyer is tied with Birk for the team lead in stops with 35 (19 solo and 16 assists). In addition, he also has recorded 1.5 tackles for loss, a team-tying high three interceptions and leads the team in both fumble recoveries and forced fumbles with two each.
On special teams, both the kicking and punting duties will be the responsibility of sophomore Andrew Coe. So far this season, he has made his only field goal attempt, but has yet to attempt an extra point. As a punter, Coe is is averaging 41.3 yards per kick in 15 attempts with two kicks over 50 yards.