ASHLAND, Ohio— The Lake Erie College football team was unable to come away with a victory in their 2014 season opener at Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) rival Ashland University as they fell 66-21 on Saturday (Sept. 6).
Anthony Bilal (Painesville, Ohio/Riverside) picked up where he left off last year to lead the Storm on offense. The junior tailback rushed for 200 yards on 22 carries for two touchdowns. Overall, the Storm gained 318 yards on the ground.
Lake Erie was hampered by penalties, committing 15 fouls for 144 yards.
Ashland scored the first 28 points before the Storm got on the board.
The Storm put together their first scoring drive late in the first-half, led by the rushing duo of Bilal and Brandon Phenix (Toledo, Ohio/Maumee) combining for 44 rushing yards on the drive. On a first-and-10, Bilal punched the ball in from 12-yards out for the Storm's first touchdown. Kyle Galbraith (Munroe, Mich./Munroe/Oakland) converted the PAT to cut the Ashland lead to 28-7 heading into the half.
After Ashland converted a field goal on their first possession of the second-half, Tanner Wells (Carrollton, Texas/Parish Episcopal) picked off a pass on an Ashland fake punt attempt, returning it 50-yards to the Eagles 10-yard line. On the following play, Bilal scored his second touchdown of the game to cut the Ashland lead to 17. However, Ashland answered with touchdown runs on the following two drives.
The Storm strung together a series of big plays late in the third quarter. Tyler Eden (Mentor, Ohio/University School) found Tommy Jackson (Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard) down the middle on a third-and-eight for 24 yards. Bilal picked up 19 yards on the following play down the sideline. After a Phenix run, Eden scrambled for 26 yards and a Storm touchdown. However, a penalty after the touchdown led to a quick Ashland touchdown before the end of the quarter to take a 52-21 lead into the final frame.
In the fourth quarter, Ashland tacked on a pair of touchdowns.
Eden ended the game with 86 yards on 11-of-15 passing. He also gained 50 yards on the ground. Jackson was his top receiver, catching a pair of passes for 31 yards. Shane Van Fleteren (Shelby, Mich./Utica) led all Storm receivers with three receptions. Eight different receivers caught passes for Lake Erie.
Phenix ended the game with 54 yards on thirteen carries in his first game since the 2012 season.
Nick Kirschner (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor), Stacy Woodford (Dublin, Ohio/Dublin Coffman) and Maurice Hale (Columbus, Ohio/Beechcroft) led the Storm defensively with seven tackles apiece. Of his seven, five were solo stops for Woodford to lead the Storm. Wells ended the game with five tackles in addition to an interception and pass breakup. The Storm defense limited Ashland running back Anthony Taylor to 85 yards on the ground.
The Storm is back in action next Saturday (Sept. 13) as they open the home portion of their schedule against Hillsdale College.