Capital Jumps to Early Lead, Closes Late to Post Senior Day Victory

The 2013 senior class sent itself off in style with a 41-27 victory over Wilmington on Nov. 16 at Bernlohr Stadium. (Sam Wentz photo).
The 2013 senior class sent itself off in style with a 41-27 victory over Wilmington on Nov. 16 at Bernlohr Stadium. (Sam Wentz photo).


COLUMBUS – The Capital University football team won its second consecutive game to wrap up the 2013 season Saturday, defeating Wilmington 41-27 in an Ohio Athletic Conference showdown on Senior Day at Bernlohr Stadium.


The Crusaders (3-7 overall, 3-6 OAC) totaled 469 yards off offense, including 361 on the ground, and held the ball for nearly 36 minutes in the contest. Capital converted 9-of-14 on third down and tallied three interceptions to offset three fumbles lost offensively.


Freshman quarterback Oliver Rouch (Grandview Heights, Ohio), making his first career start, and freshman b-back Brent Walton (Pickerington, Ohio) each eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark and ran for a pair of touchdowns. Rouch finished with 26 carries for 121 yards and also passed for 108 yards and a score, while Walton carried 22 times for 112 yards.


Sophomore slot back Bo Hardy (Galloway, Ohio) contributed with 59 yards and a touchdown, while senior slot back Alex Coleman (Columbus, Ohio) totaled 184 all-purpose yards and a touchdown reception.


Senior defensive back Domenic Hebebrand (Hinckley, Ohio) totaled eight tackles to lead the defense, while senior defensive back Andre Cousin (Fostoria, Ohio) and junior linebacker T.J. Langermeier (West Jefferson, Ohio) posted seven tackles apiece.


The Quakers (0-10, 0-9) registered 459 yards of total offense, including 355 through the air, but were held to just a fourth-quarter touchdown in the second half after tallying 20 unanswered points to close the first half.


The Crusaders led 20-0 just three seconds into the second quarter after finding the end zone on their first three drives of the contest.


On the third play of Wilmington's opening drive, freshman linebacker Jordan Blair (Lebanon, Ohio) picked off quarterback Brandon Arehart and returned it 20 yards down to the Quakers' 5-yard line. Three plays later, Walton rushed in from seven yards out on third down to make it 7-0 with 12:40 left in the first quarter.


After a missed field goal, Capital marched 80 yards in just five plays as Hardy took a toss to the left and found a hole, sprinting down the sideline and across the goal line for a 50-yard touchdown run with 5:10 on the clock.


Wilmington took the ensuing drive into Crusader territory, but the Capital defense held on a fourth-and-1 to turn it over on downs. Rouch rushed for 40 yards on the next drive, capping it with a 1-yard sneak to make it 20-0 with 14:57 left in the second.


The Quakers handed the Crusaders a dose of their own medicine with three consecutive scoring drives of their own. Arehart threw for 69- and 33-yard scores, then Wilmington picked up a Capital fumble and returned it 69 yards for a score with 6:36 to play in the second quarter.


In the third, the Crusaders punted on their opening drive before junior defensive back Anthony Cicione (Akron, Ohio) recorded his team-leading fifth interception of the year, returning it to the Wilmington 16-yard line. Rouch plunged in from two yards out with 7:27 left in the third quarter to give Capital the lead at 27-20.


The Crusaders forced the Quakers to punt on their ensuing drive, and Coleman returned it 44 yards back to the Wilmington 43-yard line. Coleman finished what he started on the sixth play of the ensuing drive, making a highlight-reel catch over a defender from Rouch to make it 34-20 with 1:25 left in the third quarter.


Wilmington cut the Capital lead to one possession with 11:36 to play in the affair, taking advantage of a fumble by the Crusaders in their own territory.


On the next drive, Capital extended its lead to 41-27 as Walton converted from two yards out with 7:51 on the clock. Rouch rushed for 48 yards on the drive, which spanned 68 yards in seven plays.


After the two teams exchanged punts, Wilmington had first-and-goal at the Crusaders' 7-yard line, but the Capital defense held strong, forcing Arehart into four straight incompletions and taking the ball for good with 1:29 to play.


The Crusaders took advantage of good field position for a majority of the contest, starting at an average of their own 40-yard line. The Quakers started at an average of their own 26-yard line.


Prior to the game, Capital's 19 seniors, as well as one cheerleader and two senior athletic training students, were recognized on the field. Collectively, the Crusaders' senior class compiled over 5,000 all-purpose yards and more than 400 tackles.


Capital finished seventh in the conference standings, improving its overall and conference records each by one game in 2013 under first-year coach Craig Candeto.