By Tim Glon
ADA — Junior All-American Christiaan Williams (Sidney/Anna) ran for a season-high 183 yards and a touchdown to lead the Ohio Northern football team to a 31-23 Homecoming victory over Marietta on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Dial-Roberson Stadium.
The Polar Bears improve to 3-2 overall and are 3-1 in the Ohio Athletic Conference, while the Pioneers fall to 3-1, 2-1.
Williams carried the ball 30 times as ONU finished the day with 235 yards rushing and 429 yards of total offense.
Senior quarterback Anthony McFadden (Chillicothe/Paint Valley) completed 12-of-20 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns for the hosts.
MC was led by All-American Tanner Clark, who ran 25 times for 140 yards and two scores, including a 71-yard TD run.
"We did a good job on Clark for the most part," ONU head coach Dean Paul said. "He broke a big run and they had a couple of trick plays for chunk yardage, but for the most part our defense was solid. Our offensive line did a good job in both the run game and pass protection against a very good defense."
McFadden hit junior Chase Rose (Kenton/Upper Scioto Valley) on a 22-yard touchdown pass on Ohio Northern's opening possession to make it 7-0 just 5:12 into the contest.
Clark scored on an 8-yard run on the first play of the second quarter to tie it at 7-7.
Sophomore Brock Martin (Attica/Seneca East) scored on a 10-yard run at the 9:01 mark of the second quarter and MC added a 41-yard field goal as the Polar Bears led 14-10 at halftime.
McFadden hit sophomore Austin Eick (Rossford) on a 3-yard scoring play to give ONU a 21-10 lead on its first series of the third quarter.
Sophomore Dom DiFalco (Murraysville, Pa./Franklin Regional) knocked home a 24-yard field goal just 45 seconds into the fourth quarter to extend the Polar Bear lead to 24-10.
Three plays later, Clark got loose for a 71-yard TD run and it was 24-17 with 12:56 to play.
Ohio Northern answered, marching 76 yards in nine plays and taking 4:47 off the clock, to go ahead 31-17 on a 1-yard plunge by Williams with 6:11 left.
Marietta used a 42-yard halfback pass to set up a 12-yard touchdown pass from Kyle McSweeney to Austin Veatch with 58 seconds left in the game.
The Polar Bear defense successfully defended MC's ensuing 2-point conversion pass and the lead remained 31-23.
The Pioneers recovered the onside kick and took over at the ONU 44-yard line.
MC reached the ONU 24 before an interception by junior Drew Staczek (Walbridge/Cardinal Stritch) in the end zone with 14 seconds left ended the threat.
Ohio Northern out-gained Marietta 429-336 in total offense.
Defensively, senior Mark Niles (Miramar, Fla.) tied his career-high with 15 tackles for the second consecutive game to lead ONU. The OAC leader in tackles also had 1.5 sacks, 2.5 TFL and broke up a pass.
The Polar Bears will be off next week and will return to action Oct. 19 at No. 15-ranked John Carrroll.