Photo by Todd Thoenen
(CANTON, Ohio) – Walsh outlasted Alderson Broaddus in a 38-36 shootout on Homecoming in G-MAC action at Tom Benson Stadium Saturday evening. The Cavaliers (2-5, 2-1) moved over .500 in conference play with the victory in their first meeting with the Battlers (2-5, 1-2).
The Cavaliers and Battlers exchanged touchdowns throughout an offensive-themed first half, but it was the Maroon and Gold that got the upper-hand just before halftime as Koby Adu-Poku scored on a 14-yard pass from Mitchell Ault to give the Cavs a 28-21 lead at the break. It was Adu-Poku's second score of the game after he scored the first touchdown on a 9-yard run in the first quarter.
Walsh's defense came up big when it counted. Two forced fumbles and recoveries in the first half led to touchdowns, and on AB's first possession in the second half, the Cavs were able to stop the Battlers in a goal-to-go situation and limit the visitors to a field goal.
That was what the Cavs needed to create some separation. ON the ensuing kickoff, Adu-Poku came up big yet again with a 93-yard kickoff return to the 3-yard line to set up the next score. One play later, Deondre Cook ran it in to give Walsh an 11-point cushion.
That cushion wouldn't last long. After both teams exchanged punts, Alderson Broaddus connected on a 40-yard touchdown pass with a second left in the third to cut the deficit to five points after a failed 2-point conversion.
The Cavs answered with a Kasey Tingler field goal from 22 yards out to put Walsh up 38-30 with 9:59 to go in the game. Walsh's Ronald Robinson intercepted its first pass of the season on the next drive to help chew some time off the clock, but were forced to punt.
Alderson Broaddus took advantage of the opportunity and drove 80 yards and scored on a 19-yard pass to come within two, but the 2-point conversion failed.
Walsh was able to run out the remaining 3:12 left in regulation, largely in part to a roughing the kicker penalty on Cole Krumpak on a punt to give the Cavs another first down with 2:25 left.
Alderson Broaddus outgained the Cavaliers in total offense by a 420-333 count, but Walsh made up for it in return yards, a 263-76 advantage difference, and three turnovers.
Adu-Poku did most of the damage on special teams with 242 yards on six kickoff returns for an average of 40.3 yards. He was also the top receiver on the day with three catches for 54 yards. Ault finished the night 7-of-9 for 125 yards. Ault surprised many on special teams with three punts on the night to help flip the field on the Battlers with two touchbacks and one downed inside the five.
Kalvin Gordon had a strong game in the backfield with 137 yards on the ground on 16 carries for an average of 86. It's his second time this season he has hit the century mark.
On the defensive end, Walsh came up big with six sacks, two more tackles for losses, two fumble recoveries, and an interception. Nick Sturgill led the team with 11 tackles on the day, nine of them being solo take downs.
This is the first time since the 2015 season that Walsh has won two consecutive games with wins over Findlay and Malone. Walsh will look to make it three-straight as it returns to Michigan next week to take on Hillsdale. Kickoff with the Chargers is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday.