DEFIANCE, OHIO -- The Defiance College football team fell on the losing end of a 35-14 decision against Bluffton University in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference and season finale at Justin F. Coressel Stadium on senior day.
Freshman quarterback Andre Adderly (West Palm Beach, Fla./Village Academy) combined for 147 of the team's 211 yards of total offense with 68 yards rushing and 79 yards passing to lead the Yellow Jacket offense. He completed eight-of-20 passes and threw one touchdown completion. Junior Cody Wilson (McComb) was second on the team in rushing with 29 yards on four carries and had one score. Freshman receiver Devin Bolden (Lake Worth, Fla./Wellington) led DC in receiving yards with 44 on two catches and also had a TD.
Defensively, the Jackets were led by junior Keandre Gilmer (Toledo/Rogers) with a game-high 10 tackles (four solo and six assists), including 2.5 tackles for loss.
Bluffton (6-4, 5-3 HCAC) capitalized early scoring on its opening drive of the game on a nine-play, 70-yard drive that ended in a 31-yard TD run to put the Beavers up, 7-0. On Defiance's (2-8, 2-6 HCAC) ensuing possession, the Jackets moved the ball to the Bluffton 37-yard line, but a fumble ended the drive and gave the ball back to the Beavers. The lone TD by Bluffton was the only points the game would see in the first 15 minutes as the Beavers maintained a 7-0 edge after the first quarter.
Defiance had an excellent scoring opportunity early in the second quarter with the ball at the Bluffton 36-yard line thanks to an interception by junior Kenny Jones (Toledo/Bowsher), his team-leading fourth of the season. But the Jackets could not put any points on the board, keeping the game at 7-0. The two teams then traded possessions until late in the period when a Defiance fumble that was recovered by Bluffton led to the Beavers' second TD of the game with a 16-yard TD run at the 3:27 mark, making the score 14-0. Bluffton struck again just before the end of the half with a seven-play, 84-yard drive that included a 43-yard pass play and ended in a one-yard TD scamper that increased the margin to 21-0 at the intermission.
The Defiance offense gained some momentum in the third quarter coming out of the locker rooms and marching 61 yards on three plays in its opening possession of the period when Adderly found Bolden on a 21-yard completion at the 13:54 mark to put the Jackets within striking distance, 21-7. Bluffton answered the score with a score of its own following the Bolden TD on a 44-yard scamper to extend the lead back to 21 points, 28-7, with 11:02 left in the quarter. The seesaw battle continued when DC capped an ensuing 11-play, 73-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes off the clock, with an eight-yard scoring run by Cody Wilson to make it a 28-14 ball game after three periods of play.
In a drive that carried over into the fourth quarter, Bluffton got to the Defiance 34-yard line, but the Jacket defense held their ground and forced the Beaver's to punt, ending the possible scoring threat. But Bluffton would put the game away on its next drive when the Beavers found paydirt for its fifth rushing TD of the game, this time from 28-yards out for a 35-14 advantage. DC looked to cut into the deficit late in the quarter and would drive to the Bluffton 31-yard line, but a sack-fumble by the Jackets which was recovered by Bluffton sealed the victory as the Beavers took a knee to run out the clock and go on to the 35-14 final.
Bluffton ended the game with 370 yards of total offense (174 rushing and 196 passing) and was led by the duo of running back Devante Thomas-Wright and quarterback Colby Speice. THomas-Wright rushed for 66 yards on 13 carries and scored twice, while Speice had 58 yards on nine rushes and also had a pair of TD. Speice also completed 20-of-29 passes for 196 yards. Micah Roberson led all receivers with game-highs of 12 catches for 83 yards.