By Tim Glon
BEREA — Baldwin Wallace scored 21 points in the final 16 minutes to rally for a 31-21 football victory over Ohio Northern in the season finale on Saturday afternoon at Finnie Stadium.
The Polar Bears end their season at 5-5 overall and 5-4 in the Ohio Athletic Conference, while the Yellow Jackets end up at 3-7, 2-7.
Despite the loss, ONU clinched its 20th upper division finish in the OAC in the last 21 seasons, tying for fourth place in the 10-team league.
Freshman Christiaan Williams (Sidney/Anna) ran 21 times for 170 yards and a touchdown to lead the Ohio Northern offense. Williams ended his rookie campaign with 1,208 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Williams had 104 yards rushing at halftime and has now surpassed the 100-yard mark in all nine games in his collegiate career.
"I thought we played well in the first half and the third quarter wasn't too bad," ONU head coach Dean Paul said. "Once BW got the momentum late in the third quarter we did not do a good job of handling the momentum shift. We struggled in all three phases of the game from that point on and it cost us."
The Polar Bears got on the board first when Williams banged in from a yard out with 4:52 gone in the contest, capping a 6-play, 49-yard drive to go up 7-0.
The Yellow Jackets then marched 74 yards in seven plays and tied the game on an 11-yard TD run by Jake Hudson with 7:53 left in the opening quarter.
After a fumbled punt return, Freed hit junior Riley Bransteter (Celina/Parkway) on a 19-yard TD pass to put the Polar Bears ahead 14-7 with 39 seconds left in the opening period.
BW made it 14-10 with a 24-yard field goal with 50 seconds left in the opening half.
But the Polar Bears ran their 2-minute offense to perfection, using a 44-yard screen pass to Williams and a 9-yard TD pass from Freed to a diving senior Reed Allen (Whitehouse/Anthony Wayne) with just one second left in the half to make it 21-10 at intermission.
BW got within 21-17 with a 23-yard TD pass with 43 seconds left in the third quarter.
Northern got inside the Yellow Jacket 30-yard line on each of its next two possessions, but a sack forced a punt on the first trip and a fumble at the BW 3 thwarted the second scoring opportunity.
After the fumble, the Yellow Jackets drove 97 yards in eight plays and went on top 24-21 with 8:05 left in the game.
After a Polar Bear 3-and-out, BW drove 65 yards in seven plays and made it 31-21 with 3:24 left on a 6-yard TD run.
Northern again went 3-and-out and the Yellow Jackets ran out the final three minutes to post the victory.
BW out-gained ONU 423-277 in total offense.