Philippi, West Virginia – The Alderson Broaddus football team certainly lived up to their name today as the invading Oilers fought tooth and nail with the Battlers for the full 60 minutes of play. In the end, it was Findlay who came away with a 45-43 victory on Saturday, Oct. 20 in Philippi to improve to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in league play while AB falls to 2-6 overall with a 1-4 mark in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC).
Last season in Findlay, the Oilers hung 70 points on the Battlers en route to a 48-point victory. Alderson Broaddus remembered that score and on Saturday, came out fighting as just two plays into the game, the Battlers scored on a 52-yard pass play to take the lead just 30 seconds into action. But the Battlers weren't done yet as on the Oilers' first offensive possession, AB picked off senior Adam Bertke and later scored to build a 14-0 lead midway through one quarter.
After a three and out, the Battlers had the ball back and drove to the Findlay 30-yard line before senior Tyler Long forced a fumble which the Oilers recovered. Findlay then drove 86 yards on four plays, two of which were 30+ yard receptions from senior Jason Moore, playing in his first game since coming off of a suspension. Moore's second reception of the drive was the 178th of his career, making him Findlay's all-time receptions leader, passing Lloyd Henry who caught 177 balls from 2011-14. Bertke would cap off the drive with a two-yard touchdown run to cut the Battlers' lead in half.
On the first play of AB's next drive, senior Chiebuka Chukwuneke recovered a fumble by the Battlers to give the Oilers the ball on the Battlers' 28 yard line. One pass to junior Nate Slagel was all Findlay needed to tie the game at 14-14.
Findlay took their first lead four minutes into the second quarter on Brian Benson touchdown run, one of three touchdowns on the day for the Oilers' sophomore, and eventually took a 28-27 lead into the half.
The Oilers extended their lead to 42-27 heading into the fourth quarter and stuffed the Battlers' ensuing 10-play, 74-yard drive on Findlay's one-yard line to force a turnover on downs. However, two plays later Bertke threw a pick-six which pulled Alderson Broaddus to within one score.
Findlay's next possession ended when they were forced to punt after a penalty stalled the drive. The Battlers brought pressure and blocked the kick out of the back of the end zone for a safety to pull within 42-36 and give the home team the ball. With that possession, AB scored a touchdown and took a one-point lead with ten minutes left.
Findlay's shot at a win came with just over a minute left when junior Grant Loveridge lined up and nailed a career-ling 37-yard field goal to put the Oilers ahead 45-43. The Orange and Black relied on their defense for a stop on the next series and got what they needed when a fourth-and-four pass fell incomplete, sealing the win for the road squad.
In the game, the Oilers ran 68 plays for 590 yards of total offense while allowing 529 yards of total offense on 91 plays. The Battlers held the edge in first downs 30-23 and time of possession at 36:38-to-23:22. Turnovers played a big part in the contest as the two teams combined for seven fumbles and four interceptions.
Senior Jason Moore showed teams around the league what they have been missing as, in his first game back after having to sit the first seven weeks, the Oberlin, Ohio native caught ten passes for a Findlay school-record 240 yards and one touchdown. After passing 2014 graduate Lloyd Henry for career receptions, Moore also surpassed Henry for most receiving yards in a game at Findlay. On 10/11/14, Henry caught 15 balls for 202 yards and two scores. Moore's 224 receiving yards are also third-most all time in the G-MAC.
Senior Adam Bertke continued his run at quarterback and completed 19-of-33 passes for 374 yards and two touchdowns, but was plagued by three interceptions.
Leading the ground attack was sophomore Brian Benson who carried the ball 12 times for a career-high 161 yards and three scores. It is the second time this season that the Oilers' have had a back with more than 150 yards rushing this season and is the first time since Daouda Sylla against Lake Erie last season that Findlay has had a player with three rushing touchdowns.
Senior Chauncey Bridges was also a factor on the ground as he rushed for 85 yards on 14 carries.
Leading the defense was senior Francis Cutchember who had 11 tackles, including one for loss, and two pass breakups. Seniors Justice Jenkins and Chiebuka Chukwuneke had ten tackles each while Chukwuneke had a tackle-for-loss and a fumble recovery.
Findlay returns home on Saturday, Oct. 27 when they take on Walsh in a game that will kick off at 7:00 pm. During that game, the Oilers will honor one of their own, junior Corey Crawford, who has battled cancer for the last 11 months and just last Tuesday declared via Twitter that he is cancer free. Proceeds from the ticket sales of that game will go to an organization of Crawford's choosing.