Quakers Celebrate Homecoming Victory

Quakers Celebrate Homecoming Victory
RICHMOND, Ind. — Earlham College Head Football Coach Neil Kazmierczak earned his first victory as the Quakers celebrated with a 21-19 Homecoming win in Darrell Beane Stadium over Anderson University.

With the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference win, the Quakers stopped a losing streak that was at six games this year under Kazmierczak and at 26 overall.

“I’m just really proud of the guys, they kept fighting,” Kazmierczak said. “We’ve been fighting all year and they’ve never really given up."

"Sometimes, it got exhausting, because we didn’t have the numbers, but their heart is amazing.“ Kazmierczak continued. "They just fought until the end and that’s what we told them it would take, and they did it.”

It also took a defensive stop on a two-point conversion to seal the victory. With the Quakers leading 21-13, Anderson scored a touchdown with 2:13 left in the contest.

The Ravens (0-7, 0-5) went for the two-pointer to tie and the Quakers stopped the run just shy of the goal line.

All the Quakers had to do was run out the clock. Earlham called two running plays that netted just one yard and Anderson called timeout in hopes of getting another chance.

However, on a third-and-nine play Tre Stephens (Terre Haute, IN, South) ran for 10 yards to give the Quakers a first down. At that point, they were able to use the victory formation three times to set off the celebration.

“It gives us confidence and gets some stigma off us" Kazmierczak said. "We’ve been progressing all year, but we haven’t been able to see it on the scoreboard. Now we get to see it on the scoreboard.”
 
Behind Early

Anderson grabbed an early 7-0 lead after the Ravens took the opening kickoff and went 90 yards in eight plays for a score at the 11:07 mark.

Earlham was forced to punt in its first possession and the Ravens missed a field goal the next time they had the ball.

On its next drive, Earlham was able to tie the contest at 7-7 when quarterback Matt Couch (Versailles, KY, Woodford County) hooked up with Jalen Kenner (Reserve, LA, East St. John) on a 62-yard scoring strike with 4:12 remaining in the first stanza.

Neither squad was able to do much in the second period, but the Ravens got a field goal as time expired to lead 10-7 at intermission.

The Quakers started the third quarter by running three plays and then punting. Anderson responded with a field goal to take a 13-7 lead after an 18-play, 43-yard drive that took 9:02 off the clock.

On the ensuing kickoff, Greg Valentin (Miami, FL, Mater Academy) ran 50 yards to set up a 9-play, 36-yard Earlham scoring drive. Stephens scored on a 6-yard run with 17 seconds left in the third quarter. Ryan Acosta (San Juan, PR, Commonwealth) booted the extra point and the Quakers led 14-13.

Earlham stopped the Ravens on their next possession when Justin Darden (Muncie, IN, Central) intercepted a pass and ran it 34-yards down to the Anderson 13-yard line.

On the next play, Couch found Valentin in the end zone with a 13-yard scoring pass to give the Quakers a 21-13 lead after Acosta kicked the PAT.

Both teams couldn't score the next time they had the ball, which set the stage for the final touchdown by the Ravens and the defensive stop that preserved the win.

Couch finished the afternoon by completing 8-of-16 passes for 121 yards. Kenner led the Quakers with six receptions for 111 yards.

Defensively, Kaleb Lingg (Dayton, OH, Northridge) topped the Quakers with 16 tackles. Richard Martinez (Hialeah, FL, Mater Academy) finished with 13 stops.

Earlham (1-6, 1-4) visits Hanover College next Saturday. The HCAC game begins at 1:30 p.m.

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