Photo by Todd Thoenen
(CANTON, Ohio) – The home opener for Walsh didn't go as well as hoped for in a 41-10 loss to Saginaw Valley State at Tom Benson Stadium on a rainy Saturday afternoon. The Cavaliers (0-2) played close with the Cardinals (2-0) for the first half of the game, but the visitors eventually pulled away.
Saginaw Valley took the opening drive 69 yards in six plays for the game's first touchdown and took advantage of a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to take a quick 14-0 lead just 3:49 into the game. A 40-yard field goal later in the frame gave the Cardinals a 17-0 heading to the second.
It was then that Walsh showed some life thanks to a special teams miscue by Saginaw Valley and defensive stop to put the Cavaliers back in the game. A quarterback sack by Sal Sidebotham and Morgan Trust that resulted in a loss of six yards followed by a tackle for a loss of 13 yards on the next play by Sidebotham forced Saginaw Valley to punt deep in its own territory. A mishandle after the snap resulted in the punt also losing five yards setting up the Cavs at the 18.
A tough Cardinal defense didn't yield much, but Walsh was still able to get on the board with a 23-yard Kasey Tingler kick. After the kickoff and one play from scrimmage, Ronald Robinson III intercepted a Ryan Conklin pass and returned it 51 yards to paydirt and put the Cavs back within a single possession.
The Cavalier defense stepped up once again and forced a punt on the Cardinals next drive after five plays, but Saginaw Valley responded with a pick-six of its own that went for 56 yards and mad the score 24-10 with 10:12 to go in the first half. Saginaw Valley was able to tack on another score just before the half to make it 31-10.
Nick Gassman started at quarterback and went 11-of-25 for 95 yards. Bryce Short was his favorite target with three catches for 34 yards. Devin Kenerly was the leading rusher with 68 yards on 14 carries. O'Shea Heard and Dylan Garver each made nine tackles to lead the defense.
Walsh will now prep for its second annual trip to Florida to take on Jacksonville a week from today. Kickoff with the Dolphins is set for 1 p.m. at DB Milne Field with coverage provided by ESPN 3.