(CANTON)- The Walsh University football team ended their 2018 season with an exciting victory over rival Malone Pioneers. Battling bitter temperatures, the Cavaliers took care of business from start to finish to come out on top with a 27-22 win over the Pioneers.
With just over two minutes to play in the first quarter, Koby Adu-Poku rushed for a 28 yard touchdown to put the Maroon and Gold on the scoreboard. Malone Senior Matt Blasiole would answer at the start of the second quarter with a 10 yard run into the endzone to get the Pioneers on the board. Nick Gassman connected with both Koby Adu-Poku and Deondre Cook in the second quarter for an 11 play, 68 yard drive making their way down into Malone territory. A 1 yard run by Koby Adu-Poku would put the Cavaliers back up 14-7.
A rush by Gassman at the start of the third would give the Cavaliers even more momentum with a 21-13 lead. The Pioneers would quickly answer on the field with four power plays that would end with a touchdown by Stephens-Peppers. The Cavs offense struggled to move the ball late in the third quarter as they went back and forth with Malone for possessions. Malone took advantage of good field position and kicked a field goal towards the end of the fourth quarter to give them their first lead of the game, 22-21.
On the kickoff return, a Walsh fumble left the Pioneers with great field position at the Cavs 41 yard line. The Cavaliers would use all three timeouts on the ensuing possession but were able to force the Pioneers to punt after a three and out. The punt resulted in a touchback setting up Gassman and the Cavalier offense on their own 20 with 2:12 left to play.
Gassman, in what would be the final series of his Junior campaign, marched the Cavs 63 yards down the field. With :50 left in the game, a 17 yard pass completion from Nick Gassman to Deondre Cook would put Walsh back on top 27-22.
Head Coach John Fankhauser said, "We are really proud of the way our players compete with energy. They have a tough resilient attitude and do not give in. The offense drove the field for the winning score and the defense buckled up and stopped them for the win. I am happy for our seniors! They stayed together and NEVER lost to Malone."