By Tim Glon
KEMPTEN, GERMANY — Sophomore Cameron Hollander (Mariemont) drilled a 40-yard field goal with 2:48 left in the game to lead the Ohio Northern football team to a 9-7 exhibition victory over the Allgau Comets on Sunday afternoon at Illerstadion.
The Comets, who play in the top level of the German Football League, took a 7-0 lead with 5-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the first half by Calvin Stitt to cap a 7-play, 76-yard drive.
Play was suspended for 58 minutes after a thunderstorm rolled into the area less than a minute into the third quarter.
The break seemed to spark the ONU defense, who was on the field for 18:01 of the 24 minutes in the first half and held the Comets to just 50 yards of offense the remainder of the game.
Junior A.J. Marks (Guysville/Alexander) got Ohio Northern within 7-6 with a 1-yard run at the 2:31 mark of the third quarter.
The exchange from center to holder went awry and the game stayed at 7-6 heading into the fourth quarter.
After an interception at the Allgau 1-yard line thwarted ONU's next drive, the Polar Bear defense forced a 3-and-out and got the ball back at the Comet 33-yard line with 5:30 left in the game.
Northern got a first down and on a 4th-and-12 from the 23, Hollander nailed a 40-yard field goal to put the visitors ahead 9-7.
The Polar Bear defensive pressure allowed the Comets to only gain two yards in four plays and sophomore Jared Tepe (Cincinnati/Elder) batted away a pass on 4th-and-8 to give ONU the ball back with 1:26 left.
Ohio Northern then ran out the clock to improve to 5-0 in international competition.
"I am so proud of the way our guys battled and hung in there against a good team," ONU head coach Dean Paul said. "We talked at halftime about keeping our composure and making individual adjustments and our guys responded. We only had 31 dressed so we were limited with personnel, but our guys just made plays in the second half. Allgau was by far the best team we have faced in Europe. They had some very good players and were well coached. This was a terrific win for our program and for the development of our younger players."
Northern picked up a first down on its first possession and pinned the Comets at their own 7-yard line on a nifty 32-yard punt by sophomore Aaron Everhart (Ada).
Allgau then marched 86 yards in 20 plays, taking 11:12 off the clock, which is just less than a full 12 minute quarter played in European football.
The Comets' drive stalled at the ONU 7 and a 24-yard field goal was blocked by senior Jaymar Hines (Cincinnati/Marian) to keep the score even at 0-0.
Sophomore Jake Tanski (Eastlake/North) completed 7-of-14 passes for 75 yards and ran nine times for 32 yards and sophomore Andrew Kritzwiser (Waverly) ran nine times for 29 yards to lead the Ohio Northern offense.
But the most impressive day for the Polar Bears was turned in by Marks, who ran seven times for 22 yards and a touchdown, caught three passes for 47 yards and had five tackles and two pass breaks ups on defense. He also returned the opening kickoff 31 yards for an even 100 all-purpose yards.
Senior David Haseleu (Pittsburgh, Pa./Montour) led the ONU defense with 12 tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss.
Stitt, one of Allgau's international players from London, was 5-of-14 passing for 36 yards and a touchdown and ran 16 times for 74 yards to lead the Comets on offense.
Allgau out-gained Ohio Northern 186-136 in total offense, although ONU held a 131-50 advantage after intermission.