PAINESVILLE, Ohio— The Lake Erie College football team stayed toe-to-toe with the eighth-ranked Ohio Dominican University early on but the Panthers were slowly able to gain the advantage as they picked up a 48-14 win in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play Saturday (Oct. 4) in Painesville.
The Storm put together a six play, 79-yard drive to open the game. Ryan Bitzer (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Orange) was efficient on the drive in his first career start, completing two passes for 29 yards while rushing for 13 more yards. Anthony Bilal (Painesville, Ohio/Riverside) capped the drive off with a 32-yard touchdown run- his 13th of the season.
The Panthers were able to find an answer on the ensuing drive, going 80 yards in nine plays, scoring on a Brandon Schoen 18-yard touchdown run to tie the game at seven. On Ohio Dominican's next drive, Mark Miller found Dez Stewart for a 39-yard touchdown pass to move ahead 14-7.
Late in the first-quarter, Bilal broke loose for a 76-yard touchdown run-the longest rushing play in Storm history, topping the previous mark of 73-yards set by Tony Howard in 2008. After the Michael Muzic (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) extra point, the game was tied once again.
Brandon Schoen scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the second quarter as the Panthers regained the lead, 28-14, heading into the halftime break.
The Panthers defense continued to stifle the Storm in the second half, keeping them off the board and limiting their chances. The Storm worked the ball down to the three-yard line in the third quarter but the Panthers held firm on fourth down.
Stewart scored his second receiving touchdown of the contest in the third quarter while Ronald McCloud added on the ground. Aaron Everson added a late touchdown in the fourth quarter to wrap-up the scoring for the Panthers.
Bitzer ended the game completing nine-for-17 passes for 77 yards. He also rushed for 32 yards on 12 attempts. Tommy Jackson (Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard) was Bitzer's top target, hauling in four catches for 36 yards. In all, six different Storm receivers caught passes.
Bilal led the Storm rushers with 163 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns. Brandon Phenix (Maumee, Ohio/Toledo) had nine rushes for 42 yards.
Tanner Wells (Carrollton, Texas/Parish Epsicopal) led the Storm defensively with 11 total tackles- seven of which were solo stops. Wells moves within three solo stops of becoming the all-time Storm leader in that category. Maurice Hale (Columbus, Ohio/Beechcroft) had 10 stops while Ty Law (Madison, Ohio/Madison) and Devante Sims (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar/West Liberty) had eight. Darius Hogan (Fort Mysers, Fla./Lehigh) had a blocked kick on the Panthers last extra point opportunity.
The Storm put up a total of 325 yards on offense- 248 rushing and 77 passing yards. They picked up 14 first downs along the way.
The Storm take a break from GLIAC play next weekend as they face nonconference rival Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio.