Wittenberg Spoils DePauw's North Coast Athletic Conference Debut
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – The Wittenberg Tigers scored just 18 seconds into the game on their first play from scrimmage and were off to the races from there en route to a surprisingly comfortable 52-14 victory over visiting DePauw in the visiting Tigers' first-ever game as a member of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC).
DePauw's first touch of the football as a conference member was an inauspicious one as the opening kickoff was fumbled on a hit by Wittenberg junior linebacker Spencer Leno (Massillon, Ohio/Washington). It took the Tigers just one play to reach the end zone as junior wide receiver Desi Kirkman (Lima, Ohio/Catholic Central) hit paydirt on an 11-yard reverse.
From there, the route was on. Wittenberg went on to pile up 508 yards of total offense, compared to 253 yards for DePauw. The win moved the Tigers to 2-0 on the season, while DePauw dropped to 0-2.
Junior quarterback Reed Florence (South Charleston, Ohio/Southeastern) had a tremendous first start in front of the home crowd, completing 11 of his first 12 passes on his way to a 336-yard performance. Four of those passes went for touchdowns to four different receivers.
Florence was credited with one of the scoring receptions himself. He started the play with a lateral to sophomore wide receiver Zac Wilson (Eaton, Ohio/Eaton), who then passed it back across the field to Florence. Following a convoy of blockers on the perfectly executed trick play, Florence covered the next 42 yards to the end zone.
Florence even added a team-high 46 rushing yards on eight carries. Five other players finished with at least four carries in the game as the Tigers racked up 144 yards in total.
Senior Garth Gilbert (Medway, Ohio/Tecumseh), junior Brendon Cunningham (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) and junior Jonathan Stoner (Bowling Green, Ohio/Bowling Green) all caught touchdown passes in the game. Gilbert led both teams with a career-best seven receptions in the game, totaling 83 yards.
Defensively, Wittenberg was paced by Leno with 11 tackles, including one for a loss of two yards, followed by junior safety Mark Swope (Fairborn, Ohio/Fairborn) and junior defensive tackle Cory Cosby (Canal Winchester, Ohio/Pickerington Central) with eight stops apiece.