OWENSBORO, Ky (November 1, 2008) - Late in regulation, it looked as if Lake Erie College might be going into overtime for the first time in program history, but the athletic moves of Dave Romeo (Eastlake, Ohio/Eastlake North) lifted the Storm above Kentucky Wesleyan, 38-31 as the freshman reached up and caught his second touchdown of the day with less than two minutes remaining in the game. And as the Panthers marched down the field to try to make the overtime dream a reality, throwing a pass straight into the end zone, it was Lake Erie's Ryan Studer (Painesville, Ohio/Riverside) who came up with the biggest interception of the season to squash the possibility of extra time.
Lake Erie opened its final road contest of the season quite strong, jumping out to a 14-0 lead after freshman quarterback Sean Bedevelsky (Brunswick, Ohio/Brunswick) linked up twice with wide receiver Brandon James (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) in the opening quarter. The first touchdown of the game came on a 75-yard pass, marking a personal long reception for James, after the Storm put together a three-play drive. Cameron Szatala (Lorain, Ohio/Admiral King) made the extra point to put Lake Erie on top, 7-0 after two minutes of play. It was Bedevelsky to James seven minutes later, this time on a nine-yard pass culminating a 14-play, 72-yard drive by the Storm. A point after by Szatala gave Lake Erie a 14-point lead with under six minutes to go in the first period. Kentucky Wesleyan responded with a two-yard touchdown for its first score of the game, to make it 14-7 to end the quarter.
Lake Erie opened the second quarter with its third touchdown of the afternoon. A three-play drive included a 21-yard pass to James, a rush by tailback Tony Howard (Garfield Heights, Ohio/Garfield Heights) for no gain and a pitch fake to Steve Bensinger (Poland, Ohio/South Range) to set up a nine-yard touchdown run by left wing Dave Romeo (Eastlake, Ohio/Eastlake North). Szatala's kick put Lake Erie ahead 21-7 with 13:45 to go in the half.
The Panthers then proceeded to put up two straight touchdowns to tie the game at 21. Lake Erie ran 13 plays for 60 yards to get within field goal range. Three straight timeouts unfortunately iced the kicker as the attempt from 27 yards out missed, sending the teams to the locker room at a stalemate.
Third quarter scoring was limited to a pair of field goals, one each per team. Szatala kicked a 22-yarder two minutes into the half before Kentucky Wesleyan countered with a 25-yard field goal with 8:23 left on the clock.
In the fourth, the Panthers stopped Lake Erie in three plays, forcing them to punt and then put together a nine-play, 90-yard drive for a touchdown, taking its first lead of the game, 31-24 with 10:11 to play. The lead was short-lived however, as Lake Erie stormed the field for 68 yards - 18 of which came on three rushes from Howard. Bedevelsky finished the series with a 38-yard TD pass to freshman receiver Kyle Gregory (Avon, Ohio/Avon). Szatala's kick then tied the game at 31 with seven minutes remaining.
The Panthers' next series ended after six plays where they punted for a touchback. Howard went to work with the ball at the 20, totaling 53 yards on four carries setting Romeo up for the eventual game-winning score on a seven-yard pass. Szatala's kick was good with 1:43 to go.
Kentucky Wesleyan went 57 yards in seven plays and a bullet into the end zone, which looked like a touchdown, was actually cut off by Studer with 38 ticks left on the clock. Taking a knee on its possession to run out the clock, sent the Storm into celebratory mode as it recorded its first varsity win on the road in program history.
Lake Erie totaled 544 offensive yards, the second highest total of the season. Bedevelsky turned in possibly his strongest performance of the season, going 21-for-27 to tie the program record with 308 yards. He had four touchdowns and no interceptions. Howard netted 113 yards on 20 carries, while James racked up a program-record 183 yards on nine receptions. Gregory totaled a personal-best 129 all-purpose yards - 39 rushing, 41 receiving and 49 on kick return. Romeo recorded 84 all-purpose yards, including 46 on seven rushes and 38 on five catches.
On the defensive side, Lake Erie totaled 10 tackles for a loss of 56 yards. Aaron Gaines (Akron, Ohio/Buchtel) had one for a loss of 29 yards, while Derrick Clement Seville, Ohio/Cloverleaf) had two for a loss of 11 yards. Kenneth Glenn (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) and Bill Finucan (Rocky River, Ohio/Rocky Rover) led the team with six tackles apiece.
Lake Erie (3-7) heads into the final game of the season on a high note. It will host Division III No. 10 Wesley at Jack Britt Memorial Stadium at 1 p.m. on Nov. 8.