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Second Half Surge Lifts Football Past Heidelberg in Home Opener and 42nd Shrine Classic Game

Keagan Armitage named Shrine Classic Player of the Game (Photo Courtesy of Lexi Ripperger)
Keagan Armitage named Shrine Classic Player of the Game (Photo Courtesy of Lexi Ripperger)

BEREA, Ohio  –The Baldwin Wallace University football team scored 20 second half points to secure a come from behind home opening and 42nd Lee Tressel Shrine Classic  victory over Heidelberg University by a final score of 34-33 on the Tressel Field inside The George Finnie Stadium.

BW (3-1, 2-1 OAC), who scored 20 second half points, improved to 49-24 in the all-time series against Heidelberg (3-1, 2-1 OAC). 

Freshman quarterback Keagan Armitage (Ashland), who entered just four plays into the game, was named the Yellow Jacket Shrine Classic Player of the Game as he completed 15-of-29 passes for 229 yards with four touchdowns. 

In addition to Armitage offensively for BW, sophomore All-OAC running back Jon Murray, Jr. (Cincinnati/Withrow) rushed for 105 yards on 24 carries with one touchdown.  Murray, Jr. also caught two passes for nine yards with one touchdown.   Junior wide out Iyan Mitchell (Tampa, Fla./Robinson) led the receiving corps with a game-high eight catches for a game-best 177 yards with two touchdowns.  Defensively, sophomore linebacker Nick Pankow (Medina) recorded a game-high and career-best 14 tackles.

The Student Princes were led by senior quarterback Jimmy Gephart as he completed 12-of-24 passes for 224 yards with two touchdowns.  Freshman running back Montavious Yearby, who named the Heidelberg Shrine Classic Player of the Game,  led the rushing attack with 120  yards on 30 carries with one touchdown.  Junior All-OAC wide receiver Maceo Matthews led the air attack as he caught five catches for 133 yards with one touchdown.  Defensively,  sophomore All-OAC linebacker Zachary Blackiston had a team-high 12 tackles with a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry.

The Student Princes scored all 10 points in the first quarter.   Heidelberg opened the scoring on a three-yard run by Yearby.  Freshman kicker Branden Steckel at the extra point at the 12:12 mark.  Steckel converted a 32-yard field goal to push the lead to 10-0 with 40 seconds left.

The Yellow Jackets cut into the lead and opened the second quarter scoring when freshman running back Shaun Perry (Clearwater, Fla.) rushed five yards to pay dirt.  Freshman kicker Dean Sarris (Canton/GlenOak) added the extra point to make the score 10-7 at the 10:51 mark. The Student Princes added to their lead when senior running back Verondtae Wilkinson scored on a one-yard run.   Steckel tacked on the extra point to push the score 17-7 with 36 seconds left.    After a 67-yard kickoff return by Mitchell, BW took just two plays to cut into the lead when Murray, Jr. caught the first collegiate touchdown from Armitage with just one second left in the opening half.

The third quarter featured three scoring plays of 28 yards.   First, Heidelberg opened the second half scoring when Matthews caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Gephart.  Steckel added the point after to extend the lead to 24-14 at the 9:47 mark.  The Student Princes added the second 28-yard score when they pushed their lead to 27-14 on a 28-yard field goal from Steckel at 4:40.  The third and final 28-yard strike came when the Yellow Jackets cut the lead down to 27-21 when Mitchell caught a 28-yard pass from ArmitageSarris hit the point after at the 3:23 mark.

BW opened the final quarter scoring and tied the game at 27-27 when senior tight end Mitchell Yehl (Portville, N.Y./Central) caught his first collegiate touchdown on the third touchdown of the game for Armitage at the 9:35 mark.  Sarris missed the extra point.  The Yellow Jackets took their first and only lead of the game when Armitage fired his fourth touchdown of the game to Mitchell on a 33-yard pass play for Mitchell's second score of the half.  Sarris botted the extra point for the 34-27 advantage at 2:51.  Heidelberg responded when Gephart hooked up with junior wide receiver Dimitri Penick on a 46-yard pass play with 1:37 remaining.  The Student Princes went for two but the rush play was stop short at the half yard line by the swarming BW defense.   Heidelberg tried an onside kick but it was recovered by the Yellow Jackets who were able to run out the clock as they kneeled down three times. 

BW remains at home on Saturday, October 5 when it hosts and OAC, Community and Family Day and Homecoming game against Capital University at 2 p.m.    Fans can watch all of the action live at