The Capital University football team totaled 429 yards rushing and made several big plays through the air Saturday for a 42-13 victory over Marietta in the Ohio Athletic Conference opener for both teams at Don Drumm Stadium in Marietta, Ohio.
The Crusaders (1-1 overall, 1-0 OAC) outscored the Pioneers 35-3 in the second half en route to Craig Candeto's first career victory as a head coach.
Capital generated 579 yards of total offense while holding Marietta (0-2, 0-1) to 328.
Senior slot back Alex Coleman (Columbus, Ohio) tallied a pair of touchdowns – one rushing and one receiving – to lead the Crusader offense. In his first career start, freshman quarterback Chase Longwell (Hilliard, Ohio) threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 84 yards on 21 attempts.
Freshman b-back Brent Walton (Pickerington, Ohio) paced Capital's strong rushing attack with 131 yards on just eight attempts. Coleman and sophomore b-back Bo Hardy (Galloway, Ohio) rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown apiece.
Senior defensive back Domenic Hebebrand (Hinckley, Ohio) led the defense with a team-best 12 tackles. Junior defensive lineman Gene Rucker (Marion, Ohio) and sophomore linebacker Matt Tash (Painesville, Ohio) tallied eight tackles apiece. Rucker and freshman defensive lineman Luke Scott (West Chester, Ohio) each posted a sack and two tackles for loss.
After the Crusaders turned it over following a 61-yard drive into Marietta territory, the Pioneers got on the board with a 12-play, 88-yard drive capped by a five-yard touchdown passing play with 8:01 to play in the first quarter.
The two teams traded punts before Capital turned it over on downs at the Marietta 4-yard line. The drive had started following a 30-yard punt return by Coleman and featured long runs by freshmen Stephen Lemieux (London, Ohio) and Walton.
Two plays after an interception and 20-yard return by sophomore linebacker Bryan Bokovitz (Gallipolis, Ohio) gave the Crusaders the ball at the Pioneers' 13-yard line, Capital got on the board on Coleman's 10-yard run around the left side to tie the contest at 7-7 with just under 10 minutes to play in the second quarter.
Trailing 10-7 with 3:28 to play in the first half, the Crusaders nearly scored again, but Longwell was stopped on third-and-goal and the clock ran out before the team could run another play.
Following a missed field goal by Marietta, Capital took advantage of two big plays to take the lead for good. Longwell found senior wide receiver Justin Bubar (Strongsville, Ohio) for 29 yards before Hardy made a nice cutback and rumbled in from 45 yards out to put the Crusaders on top 14-10 with 9:24 left in the third.
After a field goal by the Pioneers on the ensuing drive, Capital ran on seven of its first eight plays before Longwell found senior wide receiver Jacob Batcho (Massillon, Ohio) on a jump ball in the end zone from 24 yards to make it 21-13 with 1:28 left in the third.
The Crusaders then forced another Marietta punt, and Longwell found Coleman wide open down the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown with 9:21 on the clock.
Appropriately, Longwell dove in from one yard out to pad the Capital lead with 3:48 to play. Senior quarterback Alex Nydza (Cleveland, Ohio) plunged in from five yards out with 2:03 left in the contest to provide the final margin.
Capital returns to play next Saturday against Ohio Northern on Homecoming Saturday at Bernlohr Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.