Photo by Todd Thoenen
(CANTON, Ohio) – Walsh dropped its season opener to former conference rival Wayne State by a score of 28-9 on a cool Saturday afternoon at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. The Cavaliers did show some promise as they shut out and outscored the Warriors in the second half.
The game was Head Coach Dan Pifer's debut with the Cavaliers as the third head coach in program history. Walsh was also playing its first game in the newly-renovated stadium at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Wayne State needed the big play to jump up on Walsh with three of its scores coming on plays of 23 yards or more with two being at least 60 yards. The Warriors struck first after turnover set them up just outside the red zone for their second drive. On the second play, D.J. Zezula found Preston Pelham from 23 yards out. On its next drive Zezula found Darece Roberson on a 60-yard strike.
Walsh was then able to put its first fine drive of the game together to put points on the board in the form of a 41-yard field goal by Kasey Tingler. That made the score 14-3 as the first quarter expired and capped a 12-play, 51-yard drive.
The visitors went on to record the next two scores, including an 85-yard run for a score as the half expired.
Walsh came out and put together the only scoring drive of the half on a 10-yard run from Byron King for a touchdown with 5:11 to go in the third. It was the bookend of a seven-play, 64-yard drive over 3:31. The Cavaliers had a few opportunities later in the game, but could get no closer.
The Cavs finished with 317 yards of total offense with 181 through the air and 136 on the ground. Nick Gassman was responsible for most of the air attack as he went 14-of-25 with 171 yards. On the ground, Kalvin Gordon carried the rock for 78 yards. King finished with 38 yards on 12 carries and a score.
The Cavaliers now head on the road for the next three weeks with another former GLIAC foe first up on the docket. Walsh will head north to Saginaw Valley State next week for a date with the Cardinals scheduled to start at 3 p.m.