DEFIANCE, Ohio – With the coveted hammer trophy on the line, the Defiance College football team ground their way to the first win of the season on Saturday afternoon. The annual matchup with the Bluffton Beavers saw defense and special teams make their presence known as Defiance toppled the local rival 10-7.
A battle of tough defenses throughout the first half had both sides searching for the opening strike. A pair of back-to-back Beaver drives saw the Yellow Jacket defense and special teams units come away with a pair of takeaways. With Bluffton set to attempt a 27-yard field goal, Elmer Brewer (Cordova, Tenn./Drew Central) burst through the line and blocked the kick on the visitor's first drive of the second quarter.
Despite best efforts, the rivals headed to the locker rooms knotted at 0-0.
After a handful of drives early in the second half, the Defiance defense came up with another major play. With the Beavers marching down the field, Thomas Coltrain (Leslie, Mich./Leslie) snagged an interception at midfield, ultimately setting up DC to score the first points of the contest by way of an Andres Riley-Clark (Copperas Cove, Tex./Copperas Cove) 22-yard field goal.
Defiance once again made their mark on the scoreboard with an impressive 13 play, 73-yard drive. A strong rushing attack gave Brandon Beckford (West Palm Beach, Fla./Flanagan) the rush into the end zone from four yards out to extend the lead to 10-0.
The Beavers retaliated, scoring their only touchdown of the contest on the next drive with just over seven minutes remaining in the affair.
With a narrow lead, the Yellow Jacket special teams unit made their mark once again. With an equalizing field goal from 39-yards out in the midst, Coltrain rounded the Beaver line and blocked the kick to hold the Defiance advantage.
After DC was forced to punt, it seemed imminent that the visitors would get one last shot at scoring with just over one minute left. Never giving up on the play, the special teams unit swarmed the muffed punt, which was recovered by Jordan Ambrose (Tomball, Tex./Klein).
With victory formation ready to go, the Yellow Jackets solidified the win and returned The Hammer to Defiance.
Defensively, Michael Myers (Tampa, Fla./Middleton) led the way with six total tackles in the affair. With plenty of pressure in the Beaver backfield, Damon Thomas (Imperial Beach, Calif./Mar Vista) tallied one and a half sacks, while Brewer, Brandon Russ (Copperas Cove, Tex./Copperas Cove) and Kenneth Hatch (Memphis, Tenn./Germantown) each added one.
From the backfield, Machari Bighams (Homerville, Ga./Clinch County) pushed the DC offense to their total of 203 yards with his 71 yards on 18 carries.
Defiance concludes the 2019 season with a 1-9 overall record and a 1-6 HCAC mark.