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MC drops to Heidelberg

Pioneers fall at home to Student Princes, 44-21

Photo by Jordan Holland Marietta College’s Logyn Ratliff (15) runs with the ball during a college football game against Heidelberg Saturday at Don Drumm Stadium. Heidelberg won, 44-21

MARIETTA — Four first-half turnovers put Marietta College in an early hole it couldn’t dig out of as the Pioneers lost to Heidelberg 44-21 Saturday at Don Drumm Stadium.

Overall, Marietta (2-3) turned it over five times — starting quarterback Connor Vierstra lost three fumbles and backup Logyn Ratliff threw two interceptions. Heidelberg (4-2) scored 24 points off those turnovers and ended up winning by 23.

“Those are things that really sting, when you shoot yourself in the foot and you give them great field position,” said Marietta College head coach Andy Waddle.

“The avalanche of bad things continued to come our way in the first half. Disappointed. We have to be better.”

Maceo Matthews caught four passes for 116 yards and three touchdowns, including a 14-yarder to put Heidelberg up 7-0 on the first possession of the game. Montavious Yearby rushed for 105 yards on 24 carries and had a 1-yard TD run to make it 14-0 after Vierstra lost a fumble and gave the Student Princes great field position.

On Marietta’s second drive, Vierstra was strip-sacked by Zach Blackiston to again give Heidelberg a short field. The visitors cashed in with a 24-yard touchdown strike from Drew Sims to Dimitri Penick to make it 21-0. Sims finished 16 for 27 passing for 317 yards and five touchdowns. He was picked off once by Darius Hatch.

Marietta answered when Dawson Snyder took Vierstra’s quick pass 17 yards to the house to make it 21-7 at the end of one.

Hatch’s pick to start the second period gave MC the ball at midfield, but Vierstra had a pass slip out of his hands for another fumble and Heidelberg recovered.

Then, Sims found Matthews again for a 38-yard touchdown.

After Marietta turned it over on downs, Sims threw another 38-yard TD pass, this time to Brandon Reed, to make it 34-7.

Ratliff was picked off by Easton St. Clair to set up Branden Steckel’s 21-yard field goal, sending the Pioneers into halftime down 30.

“They end up with a couple big plays,” Waddle said.

“Big plays are something we’ve got to correct as a defense. Those things are usually preventable. We’re going to have to look at what we’re teaching our guys and how we’re going about doing some things.”

Marietta built some momentum out of halftime when Ratliff connected with Austin Veatch on a 33-yard touchdown pass to cut it to 37-14.

The Pioneer defense settled down and got a couple stops, setting up another Marietta scoring drive, which culminated in Bryce Agnew’s 39-yard touchdown run to get MC within 16, 37-21.

However, the Matthews-Sims connection struck again, this time on a 57-yard touchdown pass for the dagger.

Ratliff completed 16 of 28 passes for 163 yards. He played the entire second half except for one snap after losing his helmet.

“Logyn brings a little bit of a different element, because he’s a really good athlete,” Waddle said. “He’s got the arm talent to do some things. We didn’t go into the game thinking we were going to make that move. We felt like maybe that was a move that would give us a spark. I thought he did some good stuff for sure.”

Agnew carried 14 times for 111 yards. He’s now gone over the century mark in rushing yards in all five games this season.

Defensively, Kyle Gallagher had a pair of sacks while Drake Neuberger had one, upping his Ohio Athletic Conference-leading total to eight. Tay Pryor had four pass breakups.

The Pioneers are back in action next Saturday when they visit Wilmington.

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