HIRAM -- Senior quarterback George Blake threw for a career and game-high 357 yards and two scores, but the Hiram College football team came out on the losing end of a 38-24 decision against The College of Wooster in a North Coast Athletic Conference game at Charles A. Henry Field on Homecoming.
Wooster (2-1, 2-0 NCAC) took advantage of an early Hiram interception (2-2, 1-2 NCAC) on its opening possession of the game and went 65 yards in six plays that included a 29-yard touchdown reception at the 11:47 mark of the first quarter. The Fighting Scots added to their lead late in the period on another TD completion to extend the margin to 14-0 after the first quarter of play.
The second quarter began in similar fashion as the first as Wooster again took advantage of a Hiram turnover. Following a Terrier fumble to begin the second period, the Scots scored on a 17-yard touchdown rush by quarterback Richard Barnes with 12:56 left in the half to make the score 21-0. Two drives later, Hiram got on the board with a three-play drive that ended in a 71-yard TD completion from Blake to senior wide receiver Richard Simpson to make the score 21-7. But Wooster answered the long TD strike with a 10-yard scoring play from Barnes to Justin Rice to end the scoring in the half and take a three score advantage, 28-7, at the break.
In the third quarter, Wooster looked to be headed to another score, but would be forced to attempt a fourth-and-one at the Hiram 38 yardline. The Terrier defense held strong forcing the Scots to a no gain play, forcing a turnover on downs and stayed within striking distance. On Hiram's ensuing possession, Blake and Simpson hooked up again, this time on a 57-yard pass play with 7:59 left in the quarter and pulled to within two scored, 28-14 after three quarters of play.
Hiram was forced to punt on its first possession of the final quarter, but the Terriers attempted a fake punt that came up short and gave Wooster the ball at the Hiram 40 yardline. The Scots turned the Terrier turnover into three points thanks to a Zack Moore 31-yarder with 9:08 left in the game to make the score 31-14. Hiram answered the three points, with three-points of its own on its next drive with junior Greg Klisuric (Mentor) connecting from 21 yards out, making the score 31-17 with 7:04 to go. Wooster looked to put the game away late in the quarter on a 48-yard TD run by Sean Hackel with 3:31 remaining putting the Scots up, 38-17. Hiram found the endzone one last time to end the period on a two-yard TD run by freshman, and former Coventry standout, Dillon Headrick with 1:38 to go. But time would not be on Hiram's side as Wooster recovered the ensuing on-side kick and ran the time out with a knee down to go on to post the 38-24 victory.
Wooster totaled 546 yards of offense (203 rushing and 343 passing) and was led by Barnes who completed 25-of-34 passes for 343 yards and three TD. He also rushed for 53 yards on 16 carries and one score. Hackel rushed for a game-high 151 yards on 27 carries and had one TD. Darrian Owens caught five passes for a team-high 137 yards and a TD. Justin Rice caught a team-high seven passes for 59 yard and two TD. Defensively, John Battaglia had 12 tackles (two solo and 10 assists), including 1.5 tackles for loss.
Hiram finished the game with 450 yards of offense (93 rushing and 357 passing). George completed 20-of-35 passes for a game-high 357 yards with two TD, but had two interceptions. Headrick led all Hiram rushers with 63 yards on 19 carries and one TD. Sophomore wideout Nate Eaton caught a game-high nine passes for 106 yards. Simpson finished the game with three catches for a career and game-high 134 yards and two scores. On defense, All-NCAC senior Josh Peacock had a game-high 13 tackles (eight solo and five assists). Freshman Kyle Burchett added 11 tackles (six solo and five assists), including a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Hiram will host Wittenberg University on Saturday, Oct. 5 in a NCAC matchup at Henry Field. The game is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.