Mount Gilead overcame visiting Loudonville to open KMAC football play with an 18-13 win over their opponents, who were making their debut in the athletic conference.
Loudonville scored first, taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 72-yard kick return by Zach Frankford. MG (3-1, 1-0) would respond with six points in that quarter on a three-yard run by Garrett George and then took a 12-7 lead with six more in the second when Matthew Bland returned a punt 65 more for points.
After a scoreless third quarter, MG got a one-yard dive by Bland to take an 18-7 lead. While Loudonville would get back on the board with a 17-yard pass from Matt Spring to Kevin Berry, the Indians would maintain a lead down the stretch.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am for these boys,” said MG coach Mike Reid. “I am so proud of our preparation and the fight they showed tonight. The defense was really lights out. I mean, neither team went over 250 total offense. That is a pretty good indication of a great defensive effort by both teams.”
The Indians finished with a 243-233 advantage in yards, while also forcing three turnovers and committing none. All of MG’s yards came on the ground, with Bland running for 173 and George contributing 70.
A big game by Dane Nauman paced Highland (2-2, 1-0) past Ontario by a 27-17 margin in their first MOAC game since returning to that league.
Nauman finished with 244 yards on the ground. He also recorded three tackles and an interception on defense, as well as a pair of receptions for nine more yards — winding up with all but five yards of his team’s offensive total.
Nauman opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 53-yard run. After Ontario took the lead in the second period with a touchdown and field goal, he would strike again, this time from the one, to give the Scots a 14-10 edge heading into the locker room.
The junior back boosted his team’s lead to 20-10 in the third period with a 50-yard run. After Ontario got within three points early in the fourth, he would score again on a 15-yard run to provide the final margin of victory.
Caleb Hunter added three extra-point kicks, while Kolton Stover hit on 5-of-10 passes.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS