Photo by Todd Thoenen
(NORTH CANTON, Ohio) – In its first game back at Memorial Stadium since the 1996 season, Walsh fell just short in a 27-17 loss to Saginaw Valley State on Saturday's home opener. The Cavaliers fell to 0-3 both overall and in the GLIAC, while the Cardinals improved to 2-1 in the same categories.
The score was not indicative of how close the game was as the teams were neck and neck throughout. In fact, as soon as Saginaw Valley took a two-possession lead early in the fourth quarter with a touchdown pass, the Cavaliers responded with one of their own as Mitchell Ault caught Mat Matuska in stride for a 50-yard strike to cut the deficit back to three.
That made the score 20-17 with 10:38 left in the game. Walsh had a couple of opportunities to take the lead or tie later, but fumbles derailed the drives at key moments.
The first came on the 1-yard line as the Cardinals recovered and kept Walsh out of the end zone which would have gave the Cavaliers the lead. After the Walsh defense forced Saginaw Valley to punt, another Cavalier drive was derailed by a fumble on the 25-yard line, but this time the Cardinals' Matt McKoy picked it up and raced 65 yards for the touchdown that set up the final score.
The Cardinals opened the scoring as Jacob LeClair threw a touchdown pass to Frank Heimkreiter with 3:03 to go in the opening frame.
Jacob Maloy then got the Cavs on the board with a 24-yard field goal after a muffed punt recovered by Walsh left the hosts in prime field position. Saginaw Valley answered with a 20-yard chip shot of its own.
Late in the opening half, Tony Tate gave Walsh its first touchdown on a 64-yard punt return just before the half.
Walsh's defense was superb as it sacked LeClair six times in the game. Nick King led the team with 13 tackles and one sack with another assist on a tackle for loss.
Ault entered the game midway through the game and sparked the offense with 151 yards with 10 completions on 18 attempts with the touchdown to Matuska. Matuska caught three passes for 77 total yards.
The Cavaliers now turn to next week as they welcome No. 2/3 Grand Valley State. Kick-off with the Lakers is set for 2:30 p.m.