Nearly two thousand people gathered in and around Langhorst Field as John Carroll University visited EC to face the Bluejays, ending homecoming week with a win on Saturday.
Though it was Carroll’s third straight loss, the result allowed EC to get a two game winning streak started, beating the visitors 45-34 with assertiveness and ball control.
“The ball control combined with the big plays on offensive really helped. The play that set the tone of the game came because we were able to hit a bunch of deep passes and break off long runs we were able to control the clock and tempo,” said head coach Ron Planz after the game.
The tone setting play of the game came less than 30 seconds into the game, when senior wide receiver Korey Partenheimer caught a 65-yard touchdown pass from Orlando Hernandez, sophomore QB and last week’s Athlete To Watch.
Hernandez led the Bluejays offensive efforts throwing 275 yards and rushing for 127 yards weeks.
Offense alone didn’t win the game, as three defensive team members put up 22 tackles in the contest. Senior Linebackers Andy Warsen and Perode Charles brought down six and seven men respectively. Tristan Bolas tackled nine playmakers, recorded one sack and blocked a pass.
However, EC did have its share of defensive lapses. Immediately after earning the first touchdown in the game, EC allowed the Pioneers to complete a 63-yard touchdown pass for their first score.
Carroll did not score again until the second quarter, after a 70-yard drive ended up in the endzone. An EC defensive mishap led to a open screen pass, an a 47-yard carry for Carroll’s Senior running back Bennett Kothe.
EC would answer back with a field goal, with 10 minutes to go in the quarter after being brought to a halt and fourth down at the 20. But once again, the home team would crumble defensively, and allowed Carroll to make a 84-yard drive that ended with a quick pass for the team’s third goal.
By halftime, the Bluejays had taken a 10-point lead over the Pioneers, but it was not yet clear if the game was in the bag, and Athletic Director Paul Krohn
“We need our guys to assert themselves,” he said. “We need to be the aggressors, and play more physical against these guys for the entire second half. We’ll be looking to be more assertive after the break.”
Head Coach Planz felt that his team needed to meet Carroll on the field and feel them out before they would be able to figure out the way to the victory cheers.
“We know they’re a flavor of the week kind of team. We’ve anticipated a lot of variety in their offense today,” he said. “I think we’ve sort of figured them out now. Now we will be looking to come out after the break and defensively assert ourselves.”
And the defense was smothering for Carroll’s Pioneers. They would not score again until the fourth quarter, but it would be too late. By the time the Pioneer’s were able to add to their score, the Bluejays had already scored two more touchdowns.
Carroll’s offensive leader was senior quarterback Kyle Burlingame. In his face-off against Hernandez, he threw and completed five more passes in the game. He was the origin of every touchdown pass for the Pioneers, but it wasn’t enough.
In the process of keeping the Pioneers from outscoring them, EC was able to break a 47 year-old offensive record for the most yards ever earned by any of the past Bluejay squads.
The pioneers were held to 427 total offensive yards, while the home team collected the record breaking 607 yards.
The defeat delivered by the Bluejays marks their fifth loss of the season, while EC moved up to 4-2 for the season and 3-1 in the conference standings.
Coach Planz feels his team already has the tools they need to continue the win streak and the team’s success this season.
“Play smart and physical. That is the Bluejay way and that is where our success comes from,” he said.
EC will host Carthage for the Bluejays’ fifth conference game of the season on Oct. 15.