Findlay High School Football vs St. Francis
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By: Dylan DeWitt
In athletics, there are ups and downs, victories and defeats, successes and failures. When you are a student-athlete, you never truly know when your last competition or practice may be, so giving everything your all should be within your mentality. This statement proved true for Chauncey Bridges one day during football practice.
Bridges, a senior from Farmington Hills, Mi., was primed and ready for his final season as an Oiler. Coming off a stellar year in 2016, and claiming all-region and all-conference honors, the 2017 season could not start any quicker for him to try and pick up where he left off.
Bridges would play in the first three games where he averaged just under 50 yards a game. After that, the scenario no athlete wants to happen, happened. On what seemed to be a normal day of practice, a blocking drill went wrong for the Oiler running back.
“During a blocking drill in practice I hit a teammate and lost feeling in my extremities for a moment,” said Bridges.
The team, staff, and trainers immediately knew something had happened. After a few days of waiting for the tests to come back, the diagnosis of a spinal stenosis came in. The athletic department and doctors talked it over and believed Bridges would no longer be able to play due to the high risk.
This news was tough to swallow, but it did not stop Bridges from being the best teammate he could be; possibly a contributing factor to the success of the Oilers this season. The Football team would make it to the Sweet Sixteen of the 2017 NCCA Division II Football Playoffs for the first time ever, along with setting many records and accomplishments along the way.
“This season was so memorable because of the players on the team, the brotherhood that has been forged through the countless hours of working with each other, and building each other up,” said Bridges. “It made it possible for us to live in the moment the entire season.”
The most memorable part of the season may have come on Senior Day. As the Oilers piled on the points and moved into victory formation on that Saturday afternoon, number 20 trotted onto the field to call the last play and take the final kneel. In that special moment, the ball snapped and emotions ran through Bridges more than ever before.
“After all the time I put in with my brothers working towards our goal, I had my season taken from me. It was hard, but I was able to keep my spirits up, and motivate my team anyway possible,” Bridges said.
Chauncey Bridges ended his career with 2,511 yards and 16 touchdowns as a four-year player at the University of Findlay. He will remember his memories here, and especially this year filled with its’ ups and downs.
“To be honored in that way on our Senior Night was absolutely amazing and I honestly can’t put into words the feelings I had. All I can say is that I don’t cry often at all, but in that moment, I couldn’t hold back a single tear,” said Bridges.
By Dylan DeWitt
The Oilers entered the Round of Sixteen eager to take on Assumption College on Saturday, Nov. 25. The Oilers battled tough all game against a competitive Assumption Football Team, but a few late kick returns proved to be just enough in the game.
The Oilers concluded their season as one of the sixteen teams in Division II football after a 45-26 defeat. The Oilers’ season is one to go down in the history books without a doubt.
The game began with Assumption scoring first with a field goal, putting them up 3-0. The score would remain the same throughout the quarter, but within the first few minutes of the second quarter, Assumption completed a drive with a touchdown to add to their lead.
The Oilers battled back and with a trick play with Jason Moore catching a screen pass, and throwing a pass of his own to an Oiler player down field. This would set up a field goal that was converted. At the sound of the first half horn, the Oilers entered the locker room down one possession, 10-3.
As both defenses were showing great abilities in the first half, the second half was a story of the offenses. Back and forth, both teams scored with big plays of their own. With fourteen minutes left to play in the game, the Oilers were down seven with a score of 17-24. However, a kick return for a touchdown by the Greyhounds would move the score to 31-17.
Just like the Oilers have been all season, they bounced right back with another touchdown to pull within a touchdown after an onside kick. Another field goal, and the Oilers were down just five with roughly ten minutes to play.
Once again, an Assumption kick return for a touchdown would put the Oilers back again at 38-26. The Oilers attempted to battle once more to give it another shot, but came up short. The historic season ended in a 45-26 defeat.
The Findlay Oilers Football Team were able to put together one of the best seasons the program has ever had thanks to an all-around effort from the coaching staff and players. The season may have ended, but the season’s mark was engraved into the books.
Records of the 2017 Season:
Daouda Sylla holds the 5th most rushing yards in a season in program history- 1,554 yards
-Sylla, a Harlon Hill nominee, ends his career with 2,146 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns
Rhys Gervais finished the game versus Assumption with the most completions in a game- 37
– Gervais added to many of his program records such as touchdown passes (82), passing yards (8,726), and passes completed (658)
Jason Moore added to many of his program records such as receiving yards in career (2,722), and touchdown receptions (36)
-Most points in program history for a season- 578
24 all-conference nominees including the following:
Andrew Alten- G-MAC Offensive Lineman of the Year
Johnny Hopkins- G-MAC Defensive Lineman of the Year
Aaron Ivory- G-MAC Defensive Back of the Year
1st Team All G-MAC
– Daouda Sylla
– Michael Campbell
– Jason Moore
– Luke Stuffel
– Isaac Miles
– Francis Cutchember
2nd Team All G-MAC
– Tyler Long
– Rhys Gervais
– Jacob Hill
– Andrew Dickinson
– Grant Kinsinger
– Justice Jenkins
– Chiebuka Chukwuneke
– Patrick Rusher
Honorable Mention All G-MAC
– Christian Olmstead
– Tyler Lee
– Ashton Elmore
– Airion Kosak
– Jacob Boucher
– Neal Davis
By: Dylan Dewitt
“We shouldn`t be here” was a motive that the Oilers heard and used to fire their fuel for the game Saturday afternoon in Shephardstown, WV. Coming up against one of the top ranked teams in the nation, there was no doubt that the Oilers Football Team was the underdog in this contest.
However, the game didn’t portray an underdog defeating the favored home team. The Findlay Oilers were able to score 20 unanswered points in the second half while holding arguably the best offense in the nation to zero points.
The Oilers scored first with a field goal by Jacob Allton, but the Rams answered right back with a touchdown of their own through the air. Another field goal for the Oilers was again followed by a Rams pass and catch touchdown that put them up 14-6. By the end of the half, the Rams held an eight-point lead going into the locker room at 17-9.
Both teams continued to turn to their strengths. The Oilers were using their nationally ranked rushing attack, and the Rams were using their nationally ranked passing attack. Although the Oilers had given up two touchdowns through the air, the defense was holding the Rams` offense below their averages.
Despite not being able to cross the plane of the end zone in the first half, the offense of the Oilers was still efficient. If the Oilers were able to continue the running success in the second half, and continue the defense they’d been playing all game, the tide could switch in their favor. And indeed it did.
The second half was Oilers football, and only Oilers football on both sides of the ball. This would prove to be the deciding factor in the game.
Dauda Sylla led off the scoring with a short touchdown run to close the gap on Shepard University. With the extra point, the Oilers were only behind by two, 17-15. Michael Campbell then delivered for the Oilers with a short touchdown run of his own. The two-point conversion was good, and the Oilers took the lead, 23-17.
The Rams had to answer, and looked like they were going to. Within the redzone, the Rams called on their passing offense, but Chiebuka Chukwuneke had other intentions, intercepting the pass. The following drive, Oilers Quarterback Rhys Gervais threw a strike to Airion Kosak for a touchdown to extend the lead to 29-17.
After scoring yet another touchdown, and making it twenty unanswered points against the Rams, the Oilers were looking once more to their defense. After a few big conversions on the drive, the Rams were not giving up easily. However, the Oilers’ defense stepped up once more when Aaron Ivory intercepted another pass. The defense of UF made yet another stop to add to their outstanding performance before the offense looked to run out the clock and seal the victory. Run play after run play, Sylla and Campbell were finding holes in the defense like they had all game, adding to their totals.
The Oilers sealed the victory, their first playoff victory in program history, backed behind a full team effort. The Oilers’ defense put together one of their most outstanding performances to hold the Rams’ nationally ranked offense to season lows in various categories while the offense of the Oilers continued to make impact through the air and on the ground. With the victory, the Oilers move on to the Sweet Sixteen against Assumption College on November 25 at 1 p.m.
By: Dylan DeWitt
Sunday night, the Findlay Oilers football team members and coaching staff were in a room filled with emotion and satisfaction in hearing that they had made history. When watching the NCAA selection show, there was no guarantee on whether they had played their last game of the season, or if it would continue on with a spot in the playoffs. The season continues on this Saturday in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where the Oilers will have the opportunity to win and advance in the playoffs against the Shepherd Rams. The year has been filled with records by the Oilers and with that being said, the Oilers will make their first ever playoff run in the 2017 NCAA Division II Playoffs.
Coming into the first round of the playoffs, the Oilers are looking to bounce back after coming up just short in the Great Midwest Conference Championship game. Finishing the regular season with nine wins, the Oilers definitely have the mentality of knowing how to win. Surrounded with talent on both sides of the ball, the Findlay Oilers team will continue to look for performances from its notable players to rally behind and get the momentum going. As the Oilers prepare for a team like the Shepherd Rams, preparation and determination will be something that will lead them to a successful day come Saturday.
Taking a look at the two foes that will square off at Ram Stadium at 12:00 p.m., it may be a shootout as both teams have continued to put a tremendous amount of points on average. The Shepherd Rams are coming into the contest averaging 48.50 points per game compared to the Oilers who average 47.5 points per game. On the defensive side however, the Oilers give up an average of 17.1 points per game which is an 8 point differential from their opponents. The Rams defensive have given up 25.6 points per game to their opponents. With a game expected to be filled with touchdowns, the team`s defense will be a key impact to the game`s outcome. As the old phrase goes, “Defense wins championships”.
With all that being said, there are many notable players and other team statistics that have helped lead the two teams the entire season. The Oilers rushing attack is ranked seventh best in rushing offense according to NCAA.com with an average of 274.1 yards per game. Daouda Sylla, a senior from Ypsilanti, Michigan, has accumulated 1266 yards this season which gives him a rank of tenth in all of Division II. Other players such as Jason Moore is tied for tenth most touchdowns on the season in Division II and Aaron Ivory, Francis Cutchember and Johnny Hopkins are just a few of the many talented players that have continued to help on offense and defense. From the Shepherd Rams, the passing attack is their claim to fame this year. Quarterback Connor Jessop, a senior for the Rams, is among one of the most highlighted quarterbacks in Division II, being in the top three in the categories of passing yards per game, touchdowns, and points responsible for per game.
The game is set. The team is getting primed and ready and the Oilers are looking to advance towards their one goal during this week`s preparation for Saturday at noon. They accomplished the goal of making the playoffs, and the next goal is left at the end of the road; a National Championship title to bring back to Findlay, Ohio.
By: Kimberly Donah and Olivia Wile
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Senior Day is known as a day of celebration and remembrance. It is a time for people to show their support for those that are leaving a program. On Saturday, Nov. 3, this is what the fans, family members, and friends of Oiler Nation did for the University of Findlay football players, cheerleaders, and band members
This year, there are 10 Oiler football players leaving the program. They are Johnny Hopkins, Aaron Ivory, Airion Kosak, Daouda Sylla, Darnell Fields, Chauncey Bridges, Rhonald Houston, Matthew Cash, Andrew Alten, and Ashton Elmore.
Senior Ashton Elmore says that being apart of the team has helped him grow as more than just an athlete.
“It has impacted me greatly. It has taught me to be accountable and disciplined in everything I do,” Elmore said. “It has showed me that with hard work you can achieve anything.”
The senior cheerleaders include Cassie Fesko, Kaeli Jones, Genni Ricker, Tabitha Rogan, and Lydia Shay. The five girls were all members of the team for four years. The band members recognized during Senior Day were Evan Bader, Nick Balaj, Nathan Buoni, Victoria Fisher, Abby Jokerst, Tana Kuhn, Mikhaila Scirocco, Kelsey Shumaker, and Olivia Tanner.
Before the game began, there was a small celebration to recognize these seniors. This was the football team’s final regular season home game. As kickoff was at 1 p.m., the pace of the game was set early when the first points were scored. The momentum did not stop, and the Oilers won the game with a final score of 70-28.
Although not leading in stats this game, a notable player during Senior Day was Chauncey Bridges. Bridges has produced 2,511 yards and 16 touchdowns throughout his four years with the football program. Although he suffered a knee injury early in the season, Bridges was able to take a knee for the Oilers in their victory formation during the game.
Other senior contributors during Seniors Day were players Johnny Hopkins and Aaron Ivory. Hopkins ended Saturday’s game leading with five tackles, while Ivory currently leads the league with interceptions. He picked up his fourth during the game.
As of Tuesday, Nov. 7, the Oilers are ranked number 21 by the American Football Coaches Association and number 24 by D2football.com. This boosted them four spots as they were ranked 25 in last week’s poll. The Oilers are 9-1 for the season and are tied for first place in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference and 6-0 in league play.
Senior Airion Kosak is grateful for his time on the UF football team and to leave the team on a high note.
“Playing football has taught me so much about working together toward one goal,” Kosak said. “I’ll miss having my brothers all in one place. We have been grinding together for a long time, putting in countless hours. This season is one to remember, a culmination of our hard work in our final season here.”
The team will compete against the Ohio Dominican Panthers for the GMAC title this weekend in Columbus.
Martyce interviews with the GMAC’s football player of the week Daouda Sylla!