Sophomore Tevin Weaver (Garfield Heights) had an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that would prove to be the difference maker as the Hiram College football team defeated Westminster (Pa.) College, 23-19, in the season and homer opener at Charles A. Henry Field.
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The win also snapped an 18-game winless streak dating back to the 2011 season and is only the second Hiram victory against the Titans in program history.
Following an early fumble by Hiram (1-0) in its first possession of the first quarter, the Terriers capitalized on their second possession marching 88 yards in 11 plays and scoring on a 30-yard touchdown run by senior transfer quarterback Robert Partridge (Massillon/Massillon-Washington) for a 7-0 lead. The lone TD was all the scoring in the first 15 minutes as Hiram maintained a seven-point advantage.
In the second quarter, Hiram added to its lead with a 27-yard field goal by junior Greg Klisuric (Mentor) at the 5:40 minute mark making the score 10-0. The Terriers struck again just before the end of the half on a 48-yard TD pass play from Partridge to senior Caleb Jones(Lake Placid, Fla./Lake Placid) giving Hiram a 16-0 lead at the intermission.
Westminster (0-1) got on the board early in the third quarter thanks to a 58-yard TD completion at the 11:57 mark. The Titans would try for the two-point conversion, but failed to convert, keeping the score at 16-6 after three quarters of play.
In the fourth, Westminster struck again on a four-yard TD run that capped an eight-play, 63-yard drive and pulled the Titans to with three points, 16-13. The momentum from the Westminster TD quickly shifted as Weaver took the ensuing kickoff 84 yards to paydirt to give Hiram some breathing room, 23-13 with 12:05 left to play. The Titans wouldn’t go quietly as they found the endzone one more time with just 18 seconds to go. The extra point by Westminster following the TD, hit the right upright and trailed 23-19. Westminster attempted an onside kick, but it was recovered by Hiram sealing the 23-19 victory.
The two teams combined for over 800 yards of offense with Westminster finishing with 443 total yards (163 rushing and 280 passing). The Titans were led quarterback Dak Britt who completed 23-of-39 passes for 280 yards with two TD, but tossed two interceptions. He was also the team’s leading rusher with 94 yards in 12 carries. David Wright led the Titans with a game-high 127 receiving yards in six receptions and had a TD. Defensively, Nate Moot led the way with game-tying high 12 tackles (three solo and nine assists).
Hiram totaled 375 yards of total offense (83 rushing and 292 passing). Individually, Partridge led the way completing 15-of-28 passes for 292 yards and a score. He also rushed for 34 yards with a TD. Senior Richard Simpson (Kissimmee, Fla./Gateway) caught four passes for a team-high 101 yards. On defense, junior Mike Helco (McDonald) record 12 tackles (three solo and nine assists), including a half sack and an interception. Senior John Davis (Newton Falls) added 10 tackles (five solo and five assists).
Hiram will travel to Granville for a matchup against Denison University next Saturday, Sept. 14 in the North Coast Athletic Conference opener. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.