For the third time in the last four seasons, Wittenberg’s football team is heading to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
After clinching the North Coast Athletic Conference title for the 11th time Saturday with a 47-20 win over Oberlin, the Tigers earned the league’s automatic postseason berth.
A pair of Medina County natives are in the middle of Wittenberg’s success as Medina product Noah Johanson and Cloverleaf graduate Heath Eby have helped the Springfield school to a 9-1 record.
The Tigers tied with Ohio Wesleyan for the NCAC title, but got the automatic bid via a tiebreaker.
Eby, a junior safety, scooped up a fumble in the first quarter and returned it 30 yards for first career touchdown. The former Colt also registered five tackles and broke up a pass.
Johanson had quite possibly the score of the night, as the junior quarterback took what appeared to be a short gain and scampered 52 yards for a TD in the fourth.
Wittenberg will travel to Heidelberg in the first round of the playoffs Saturday.
|Adam Cepik (Cloverleaf) collected eight tackles to help Heidelberg edge Baldwin Wallace 35-34.
l Steven Uhler (Brunswick) had three catches for 67 yards as Ohio Wesleyan claimed a share of the NCAC championship under first-year coach Tom Watts (Cloverleaf) with a 36-12 win over Wooster.
l Taylor senior Brett Currens (Wadsworth) finished the season in style with his sixth career interception to stop Olivet Nazarene’s final drive and help the Trojans hold on for a 22-15 triumph. Currens finished with three tackles. Teammate and brother Luke Currens (Wadsworth) added three stops.
l Senior Richard Sumlin (Medina) had three tackles, including a sack, as Findlay crushed Walsh 26-7. Anthony Schrock (Wadsworth) had three catches for 45 yards for the Cavaliers.
l Tight end Kyle Juszczyk (Cloverleaf) had four receptions for a team-high 60 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown grab, but they weren’t enough as Harvard fell to Penn 30-21. Jake Schwertner (Hinckley Township resident/St. Edward) started at left tackle for the Quakers.
l Tyler Houska (Highland) had five tackles as Ashland improved to 11-0 with a 65-0 drubbing of Notre Dame of Ohio.
|A second-half goal by Chris Matejka (Cloverleaf) — his eighth of the season — helped No. 5 Ohio Northern post a 3-1 win over Carnegie Mellon and punch its ticket to D-III Sweet 16. Saturday’s third-round game against No. 10 Susquehanna (Pa.) in San Antonio marks the Polar Bears’ second straight trip Sweet 16 tripe and third overall.
l Sophomore defender Bill Gamble (Brunswick) was named to the All-Ohio Athletic Conference team. The Baldwin Wallace two-year starter helped the backline allow just 25 goals in 17 games.
|Florida goalkeeper Taylor Burke (Medina) didn’t need to record a save as the Gators opened the D-I postseason tournament with a 2-0 win over Florida Gulf Coast. Florida, which also features local product Jillian Graff (Medina), will host Central Florida on Friday in second-round play.
l BW’s Rachel Gokey (Cloverleaf) was tabbed second-team All-OAC. The three-year starter had two goals and two assists.
|Otterbein’s Kristen Bennett (Wadsworth) added more hardware after her collegiate career came to an end last week. The senior right-side hitter was named an honorable mention AVCA D-III All-American after leading the OAC in hitting percentage (.334). The Cardinals fell to Hope College in the opening round of the D-III tournament despite Bennett’s team-high 11 kills. Last week, Bennett was named first-team all-region.
l Three blocks from sophomore middle Laura McDermott (Cloverleaf) helped Morehead State sweep Austin Peay and wrap up an undefeated Ohio Valley Conference season.
l Dee Glass (Medina) had seven kills and Sarah Schleich (Cloverleaf) added 24 assists as Mount Union dropped a five-set heartbreaker to Calvin (Mich.) in the second round of the NCAA D-III tournament.
l Leslie Giordon (Medina) had seven kills as Fairmont State cruised past West Virginia Wesleyan in three games. Earlier in the week, freshman Kaitlyn Witsaman (Medina) had 10 kills in a five-game triumph over West Liberty.
|Donny Roys (Medina) is moving on. The senior was an automatic national qualifier based on his individual finish at the D-I Great Lakes Regional last weekend. The former Gazette MVP was 11th overall on the 10k course in 31:19. He will compete Saturday at the NCAA Championships in Louisville.
l Kent State sophomore Russ McCune (Wadsworth) took 144th in 34:17 at the NCAA D-I Great Lakes Regional.
l Bowling Green’s Joe van Bolderen (Buckeye) recorded 35:36 as the Falcons competed at the NCAA D-I Great Lakes Regional.
l Junior Megan Toddy (Wadsworth) earned all-region honors for Clarion after placing 18th at the NCAA D-II Atlantic Regional with a personal-best 21:54, which was 1:25 better than her previous low. She also finished 23rd at the PSAC conference Meet last month.
l Ohio Northern junior Evan McKee (Medina) was 73rd in 26:39 at the D-III Great Lakes Regional.
l Tyler Tomazic (Medina resident/St. Vincent-St. Mary) was 81st overall in 26:46.90 for Ohio Wesleyan at the D-III Great Lakes Regional.
l Kevin Paradise (Medina) clocked 32:32.87 to finish out the regular season as UNC Asheville competed at the Southeast Regional.
|Behind the play of returning starters Kyle Payne (Brunswick) and Kevin Krakowiak (Liverpool Township/Holy Name), BW was picked second in the OAC preseason poll. Payne averaged 14.2 points and 5.3 rebounds last winter, while Krakowiak netted 14 points per night with 45 3-pointers. Tyler Ferrell (Brunswick) also returns 6.9 points and 4.5 boards after transferring in from D-II Wheeling Jesuit.
l Pat Forsythe (Brunswick) ripped down a game-high eight rebounds as Akron crushed John Carroll 97-53 in its home opener. The center also swatted three shots.
|Jackie Cook (Hinckley Township resident/Regina) poured in 17 points, including 12 in the second half, and added nine rebounds as Old Dominion crushed Virginia Tech 55-35 in its season opener.
l Thanks to 13 points from Dev King (Medina), Nov. 6 Georgetown College held off Trevecca Nazarene 83-73. The sophomore post had 18 in the Tigers season-opening win over Mid-Continent.
l Senior Lindsay Tenyak (Wadsworth) chipped in 12 points, which consisted of a 4-for-7 shooting performance from beyond the arc, as Ashland pummeled Grand Canyon (Ariz.) 83-55. Teammate Taylor Woods (Wadsworth) handed out a team-best eight assists.
|Sophomore Nate Ball (Wadsworth) won the 149-pound weight class and was named Most Valuable Wrestler in leading Lake Erie to the team championship at the Mount Union Invitational. Ball took a 5-2 decision over West Liberty’s Nick Wykoff in the title bout. Teammate Christian Baughman (Wadsworth) also won his respective weight class (157).
l Mercyhurst sophomore Michael Griffith (Medina) opened the season with a third-place showing at the Washington & Jefferson Invitational. The 149-pounder went 5-1.
l Freshman Kagan Squire (Wadsworth) posted consecutive wins to open play at 151 en route to placing fourth for Ohio at the Michigan State Open.
l Alfredo Gray (Wadsworth) posted three victories en route to placing sixth for Kent State at the Michigan State Open.
l Louden Gordon (Wadsworth) was sixth at 157 pounds for Notre Dame College at the Michigan State Open.
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.