AREA COLLEGE GAMES Columbiana grad helps O. Northern drop Westminster
Derek Garrod ran for 82 yards as the Polar Bears cruised past the Titans.
By BILL ALBRIGHT
NEW WILMINGTON -- Ball-control offense, tough defense and good special teams play.
The Ohio Northern Polar Bears combined all three Saturday afternoon at Harold Burry Stadium as they cruised to a 48-3 win over the Westminster Titans in the season opener for both teams.
"You have to give them all the credit in the world," Westminster coach Jeff Hand said of Ohio Northern. "They have a good squad, they played hard and they played all three aspects of the game very well. The one big thing I saw from them is when they got the lead, they continued to build on it."
The Polar Bear offense featured the running of tailbacks Derek Garrod (Columbiana High) and R. J. Meadows and the strong right arm of quarterback Adam Quirk.
For the game, Garrod finished with 82 yards, Meadows added another 80 yards and one score and Quirk completed 12 of 20 attempts for 186 yards and three scores.
"[A balanced attack] is what we hope to have on offense," said ONU coach Dean Paul. "Those three guys did a real good job for us today, but we have others who contributed as well. I can't expect our defense to play much better than it did today."
Ohio Northern left little doubt about the outcome right from the opening kickoff as the Bears, ranked in the Top 10 in the nation in Division III, put together drives of 80, 67 and 71 yards for three of their scores. Toss in an 83-yard punt return by Wes Hostetler, his first of two in the game, and you had the ingredients for a 28-0 ONU halftime lead.
"They were fundamentally sound and they did what they had to do to control the ball in all phases of the game," said Hand. "They came up with some big plays on third down and that allowed them to keep control of the ball."
If there was any doubt about the outcome entering the second half, the Bears quickly took care of that by scoring three touchdowns in the first nine minutes of the third period.
Trailing 48-0, the Titans averted the shutout with two-and-a-half minutes left when Chris Castillo (Austintown Fitch) split the uprights with a 33-yard field goal to set the final.
Although a moot point in the final outcome, Hand felt that getting the three points was big for his team to carry over to the week of practice and next week's game.
Sticking it out
"It is important that the kids would keep playing right to the end and they did that," said Hand. "You have to give [Castillo] a lot of credit because he is a first-year kicker and he went out there and put it right through the uprights."
Sean Buggy led the Titans with 77 yards on 18 carries, while freshman Eddie Williams (Akron, St. Vincent-St. Mary's) added 44 yards. Titans quarterback J. R. Barley, who was pressured all afternoon, completed 10 of 23 attempts for 76 yards.