Worcester, Mass. – Findlay's big play ability has been a factor in many-a-game this season, but on Saturday, November 25 in the NCAA Division II Super Region One Semifinals, it was No. 15 Assumption who would rely on momentum changing plays to earn a victory. Assumption, now 11-1 on the season, scored three touchdowns that distanced more than 50 yards en route to a 45-26 victory and a berth in the Regional Finals. Findlay, which outgained the Greyhounds 518 yards to 237 yards, ends their season with a 10-3 record, the first ten-win season in the NCAA DII era of the program.
In a game that featured two of the top five scoring teams in the country, Findlay and Assumption grinded to a combined 13 points in the first half with the Greyhounds ahead 10-3.
The home team used a 50-yard field goal and a 15-play, 75-yard drive to gain an early 10-0 advantage. Findlay's lone score of the half came on a 23-yard field goal by Jacob Allton with 3:14 to play in the half.
In the second half, both teams turned up the offense to the tune of a combined 58 points.
Trailing 17-3, Findlay drove the ball 75 yards in ten plays, capped by a one-yard touchdown by senior Daouda Sylla. The score pulled the Oilers to within seven points.
The Greyhounds first statement play came immediately following the kickoff when Marc Monks found Deonte Harris for a 76-yard touchdown on the first play of the drive to retake a two-score lead.
Findlay answered with 14:09 on a 23-yard touchdown pass from junior Rhys Gervais to senior Airion Kosak making the score 24-17. But on the ensuing kickoff, Deonte Harris ran 99 yards for a touchdown to again halt the Oilers' momentum.
Four minutes later, junior Jason Moore caught a ten-yard touchdown pass from Gervais to again pull within one score.
With an offense now clicking, the Oilers appeared to get a big break when kicker Grant Loveridge kicked the ball into the back of a player on the Greyhounds front line. Findlay recovered and had the ball on their own 45-yard line with 9:56 to play, down by eight.
The Oilers reached the 28-yard line of Assumption, but an illegal blocked put Findlay in a first-and-25 situation. Findlay would pick up 20 yards before Jacob Allton connected on a career-long, 40-yard field goal to pull the Oilers to within five points at 31-26.
Once again, Deonte Harris halted Findlay's momentum. Findlay squib kicked towards the home sideline to avoid Harris' return ability, but Harris scooped up the ball on his own 20-yard line and raced 80 yards for a score.
The play that essentially ended the contest came on Findlay's next drive when Gervais was intercepted by Carlins Platel who ran 72 yards to the end zone, icing the game.
In the course of the game, the Oilers became the highest scoring team in program history, passing the mark of 561 set by the 1997 squad. Findlay ends the year with 578 points scored for an average of 44.5 per game.
Junior Rhys Gervais finished the game 37-for-57 for a season-high 386 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. The 37 completions are the most completions in a game in school history.
Senior receiver Airion Kosak had a season-best 120 yards receiving on nine receptions. He also scored a touchdown in the losing effort. Kosak ends his career with 78 receptions for 1,292 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
Senior Daouda Sylla, a Harlon Hill nominee, rushed the ball 24 times for 83 yards and a touchdown. Sylla ends his career with 2,146 yards on 356 carries and 24 touchdowns scored. This year he finished with 1,554 yards and 19 touchdowns. His rushing yards are fifth-most in a season at Findlay.
Sophomore Isaac Miles and freshman Kyle Gibson led the defense, which held Assumption to just ten yards rushing, with six tackles each. Miles had a half-sack and Gibson contributed a forced fumble. Chiebuka Chukwuneke and Grant Kinsinger each finished with five tackles.