HIRAM, OHIO — Senior defensive back Dominick Harper (Akron/Kenmore) had a 91-yard fumble return for a touchdown, but the Hiram College football team fell, 23-7, to non-conference opponent The University of Chicago at Charles A. Henry Field.
Chicago (4-3) received the opening kickoff, but on its first play from scrimmage, quarterback Vincent Cortina was picked off by freshman Tevin Weaver (Garfield Heights) giving possession over to Hiram (0-7) on their own 28-yard line. The Terrier drive would stall, but Chicago would again turn the ball right back over to Hiram on the punt attempt that hit the back of a Maroon up-man and was recovered by Harper at the Chicago 20-yard line. The Chicago defense held the Terriers to a three-and-out following the turnover and the 38-yard field goal by freshman kicker Thomas Kuczma (Brunswick) sailed wide right, keeping the game tied at 0-0. Two possessions later Chicago finally broke the stalemate with a 30-yard field goal from Jeff Sauer that was set up by a blocked Hiram punt. The field goal would be all the points scored in the first period as the Maroons led 3-0 after the first quarter of play.
Chicago began the second quarter with another field goal by Saurer. This time from 41-yards out to increase the margin to 6-0 with 13:14 left to play in the half. Turnovers continued to plague Hiram in the quarter after a fumble and bad snap on a Terrier punt attempt would lead to the first touchdown of the game scored by the Maroons when Cortina found wide receiver Dee Brizzolara from 23-yards out at the 9:05 minute mark to increase the margin to 13-0. Chicago added one more score before the end of the half on a 25-yard field goal from Sauer, his third of the game, to give the Maroons a 16-0 advantage at the intermission.
In the third quarter, Chicago increased the margin with the only points of the period on a 14-yard TD completion from Cortina to tight end Brandon Meckelberg at the 5:53 mark giving Chicago a 23-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Following the Maroon score, Hiram moved the ball to the Chicago 23-yard line, but the 16-play drive ended with a quarterback sack on fourth down, keeping the Terriers scoreless. Chicago looked to put the game away late in the quarter, but a fumble at the Hiram nine-yard resulted in Hiram’s only points of the game as the fumble was recovered by Harper and returned 91 yards for the score. But the points would come too late as Chicago went on to the 23-7 victory.
Chicago totaled 307 yards of offense (231 rushing and 76 passing) and was led by Zak Ross-Nash who carried the ball 20 times for 120 yards. Cortina completed four-of-19 passes for 67 yards with two TD and an interception. Defensively, Ben Wade led the way with nine tackles (three solo and six assists), including a half tackle for loss.
Hiram finished the game with 103 yards of offense (26 rushing and 77 passing) and was led by freshman running back T.J. Babauta (Lompac, Calif./Cabrillo) with 49 yards on 11 carries. Freshman quarterback Zach Bailey (Warren/Niles McKinley) started the game and completed seven-of-nine passes for 36 yards. Senior Brendan Rehor (Bay Village/Bay) also saw action completing four-of-seven passes for 24 yards. Defensively, junior Josh Peacock (Carson City, Nev./Carson) had a game-high 13 tackles (four solo and nine assists) and freshman Devonte Fleetion (Youngstown/East) added 11 stops.
Hiram will host Oberlin College in a North Coast Athletic Conference game next Saturday, Oct. 27 at Henry Field. The game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.