PAINESVILLE, Ohio—The Lake Erie College football team battled past Malone University Saturday night (Oct. 24) in rainy conditions for a 27-24 overtime win in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action.
Malone opened the game with a pair of rushing touchdowns before the Storm got on the board. After a punt by Austin Baker (Clyde, Ohio/Clyde) pinned the Pioneers at their own 10-yard line, defensive lineman Shane Maxey (Grove City, Ohio/Central Crossing) picked off a screen pass and rumbled into the endzone to cut the lead in half.
After back-and-forth play, the Storm tied the game late in the opening half. After big pickups by Jonathan Bell (Waldorf, Md./Westlake) and Mitchell Tilley (Oxford, Mich./Oxford), Banyasz found Tyler Lindgren (Willoughby, Ohio/Willoughby South) on a play action for an eight-yard touchdown, tying the game at 14.
The Pioneers scored early in the third quarter, recovering a fumble in the endzone. Anthony Bilal (Painesville, Ohio/Riverside) quickly provided the answer for the Storm, breaking loose for a 63-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive, once again tying the game.
The defenses took over the rest of the second half. With less than three minutes to play in the fourth, the teams exchanged turnovers, leading to a late Malone drive. With 11 seconds on the clock, the Pioneers missed a field goal, sending the game to overtime.
The Pioneers had the first possession of the extra session. Their first play was a 21-yard pass to set up first-and-goal. However, the Storm defense buckled down, allowing no more yards from scrimmage, limiting the Pioneers to just a field goal.
After a six-yard passing play to Lindgren to start their possession, Banyasz found Kukwa down the seam for the game winning touchdown.
Banyasz completed 18-of-31 passes for 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His top target was Shane Van Fleteren (Shelby, Mich./Utica), who hauled in six passes for 72 yards. Kukwa had three catches for 38 yards and a touchdown while Demarco Rojas (Owings, Md./St. Mary's Rykin) had two catches for 45 yards.
Bilal finished the game with 147 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown. Aaron Lindgren (Willoughby, Ohio/Willoughby South) had four carries for 61 yards.
B.J. Rhodes (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio/Cuyahoga Falls) converted all three of his extra points. Baker averaged 44 yards on four punts.
Defensively, Isaiah Wheeler (Copley, Ohio/Copley/Stark State) led the Storm with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery. Christian Cole (Waldorf, Md./McDonough) had nine stops including 1.5 sacks. Nick Szabados (Middletown, Ohio/Archbishop Moeller) had nine tackles while Aaron Rojas (Wastonville, Calif./Wastonville/Cabrillo) had seven tackles and a sack. Adam Mial (Beverly Hills, Mich./Detroit Country Day) and Maxey had interceptions.
The Storm offense produced 28 first downs while the defense limited Malone to 15. They totaled 467 total yards offense, with 223 coming on the ground.
The Storm defense limited Malone to just one-of-11 on third down conversions.
Lake Erie is back in action next week, playing host to fourth-ranked Ferris State University.