(TIFFIN, Ohio) - Two third quarter touchdowns and another strong defensive effort pushed Walsh to a 30-29 come-from-behind victory over Tiffin Saturday afternoon. The Cavaliers (3-5, 3-4) forced three turnovers, all interceptions, and held the Dragons' (2-6, 1-5) offense to just 236 yards of total offense. Only five of those yards were on the ground to set a new Walsh defensive record for fewest rushing yards allowed.
Tiffin started the scoring on a three-yard touchdown pass from Antonio Pipkin to Jerry Brown to cap off a six-play, 48-yard game opening drive. After the two teams exchanged interceptions, the Cavs tied the game up on a trick play as Trent Toy (Jr., Avon Lake, OH/HS) found Jerald Robinson (Jr., Canton, OH/South/Michigan) from 19 yards out on a pass.
The points kept coming in odd fashion in a wild first quarter as the Dragons were next to strike, this time on a 53-yard interception return to make it 14-7. On the ensuing possession, the Cavs were forced to punt after the drive stalled, but a blocked punt resulted in a Tiffin safety and a 16-7 lead for the hosts.
Walsh closed out the crazy first half scoring with a pick-six of its own as Pierre Raymond (Jr., Fort Myers, FL/East Lee County) jumped in front of a Pipkin pass and returned it 60-yards to pay dirt. The defensive score made it 16-14 with 3:20 left in the opening period.
Special teams were the story of the second quarter as they accounted for all four scores. Both teams exchanged field goals as Tomislav Derezic gave the Dragons a five-point lead on 45-yard field goal before Michael Dudics (Jr., Doylestown, OH/Chippewa) booted one from 36-yards out to make it 19-17 with 3:02 left in the half. Tiffin appeared to have regain control of the momentum swing as Stefan Willis returned the kickoff 87 yards for a score and Derezic added a 33-yard field goal to give the Dragons a 26-17 lead as the teams headed into halftime.
The third quarter proved to be the momentum shift Walsh was looking for as the Cavaliers put together two consecutive touchdown drives. Aaron Male (R-Fr., Akron, OH/Ellet) capped off the first with a six-yard run. Walsh then took the lead as Jason Fracassa (Sr., Sterling Heights, MI/Utica Stevenson/Northwood) punched it in from two yards out to tie the game and finish a 10-play, 65-yard drive. Dudics added the point-after-touchdown to give the Cavs a lead they didn't relinquish.
The Cavaliers' defense forced Tiffin to punt the rest of the game. The Dragons' longest drive the rest of the game in both plays and yards was five plays for six yards at the end of the game, but that ended in an interception by Nathan Filut as time expired.
The defense was once again charged by the outstanding play of Cameron Trudell (Jr., Columbus, OH/Walnut Ridge). Last week's GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week made a strong case for repeat honors with 16 tackles, 14 solo, with two for losses of a combined 16 yards and a sack. Filut added 11 in the effort.
Male led the offense with 75 yards rushing on 15 attempts and a score.
The Cavaliers play in their second of four-straight road games to close the season in Painesville against Lake Erie a week from today. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Jack Britt Memorial Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on 95.9 WNPQ.