Yeomen Outlast Allegheny
The Oberlin football team finished their regular season this past Parents’ Weekend with an exciting finale. The Yeomen beat Allegheny College 27-22 to finish the season 5-5 overall and 5-2 in NCAC play. Oberlin finished third in the conference, the best in the history of Oberlin football.
The win against Allegheny, the first since 1985, was the highlight of a season that saw many records broken.
“I think the best way to describe [the Allegheny game] is just an overall great team victory,” said senior Chase Palmer. “Every aspect of the game played a part in the win. You can’t ask for better than that.”
Junior quarterback Greg Mangan agreed with Palmer, adding: “Both teams never gave up and fought until the very end. I think I nearly passed out watching the final few minutes of the game, but our defense rose up to the challenge.”
Oberlin won despite falling behind by a touchdown early in the game to the third best defense in the NCAC. Senior Cody Hartley blocked an Allegheny punt in the end zone and proceeded to fall on it, scoring the first Yeomen touchdown of the day.
Senior Chris Schubert commented on how special the victory was for the outgoing seniors.
“Our last game against a rival and winning the game meant a lot to this program and to this senior class,” said Schubert. “Playing with the guys for four years and seeing what we as a class have done for this program, it’s only fitting that we go out on a win.”
Senior Cassius Harris’ 48-yard touchdown reception, coupled with first-year Zach Richard’s 34-yard field goal gave the Yeomen a 17-6 lead at the half. Richard had a strong performance that earned him NCAC Offensive Player of the Week, finishing two field goals and going 3-3 on point-after attempts.
Allegheny made a field goal in the third quarter and scored the first touchdown in the fourth, bringing the score to 17-15. The Gators were forced to go for two to tie thanks to an earlier botched PAT, but Oberlin defended bravely.
Richard hit another field goal to give the Yeomen a little breathing room, but Allegheny still had 2:25 left on the clock to score a touchdown for a win.
First-year Derrick Dennis stopped any chance of an Allegheny comeback when he returned an interception 56-yards for a touchdown. The game seemed in the bag but Allegheny was determined to fight back.
Oberlin was flagged for an excessive celebration penalty after the score. The penalty, in combination with a good return, gave Allegheny the ball at the Oberlin 27. Two plays later, Allegheny scored a touchdown.
Allegheny had a few opportunities at the endzone after recovering the onsides kick, but the Yeomen stopped them on the final play when Palmer broke up the pass.
As the 2006 season came to an end on Saturday, one thing marked Oberlin’s season: The seniors played a big role in the team’s success.
Palmer had 14 tackles, while fellow seniors Geoff Sirockman and Nick Bartlett had ten and eight tackles, respectively. Senior Mike Evans had two interceptions on the day.
Senior Chris Pisani, Oberlin’s single season sack leader, freed other defenders with his five tackles, while being constantly keyed on by blockers.
On the other side of the ball, Harris and Schubert had five catches each for 94 and 52 yards, respectively. Schubert finished with 2,536 receiving yards in his career, the all-time second highest in the NCAC.
The Yeomen also set single season records for both yards and points. There were a number of individual records set as well. In the end, football is a team sport and Oberlin continued to improve as the season progressed. After a rough start, the Yeomen were in the hunt for a conference championship.
Oberlin will be hurt by the loss of the senior class, but will return a key group of players, including Mangan and junior star running back R.V. Carroll, along with a relatively youthful squad. After a much improved season, the Yeomen hope to challenge again for the conference championship.