By ANDY WOLF
Jacob Allton doesn’t miss his duties as emergency kicker.
The senior is happy being just another wide receiver on the University of Findlay football team.
“That means (Chris) Demler is kicking well; that means (Grant) Loveridge (Riverdale) is kicking well so that’s always good,” Allton said after a laugh.
He was called upon to kick extra points and short field goals late last season and into UF’s two-game playoff run.
To no surprise of UF head coach Rob Keys, Allton succeeded by making 20 of 21 extra points and 6 of 7 field goals.
Allton’s story as a wide receiver started back in 2014 where he didn’t see playing time until 2016.
He’s since turned into one of many reliable targets for senior quarterback Rhys Gervais.
“It’s crazy; it’s flown by, it really has,” Allton said. “I’ve really enjoyed every moment here we’ve had.
“I know when I was younger I wasn’t ready. I went through the strength program with coach Wags (Chad Wagner). That stuff made me solid as a rock. What he does with the strength program gets you right, gets you mentally ready for what we do on the field.”
At 5-foot-10 and one tick over 200 pounds, Allton isn’t the most physically imposing wideout.
But his impact is often getting just past the sticks for a third-down conversion or hanging on with both hands after taking contact over the middle.
He’s up to 12 catches and 153 yards in four games so far in 2018.
Keys credits Allton’s impact to his hard-working nature.
“Jake just does his job No. 1,” Keys said. “Yes, it seems like there’s been multiple times in his career where he’s made really, really big plays.
“I remember back to Tiffin (2017) where he caught the ball on a third-and-6 and he needed three more yards after contact and he carried three guys and got the first down.”
In last week’s 34-21 loss to Ohio Dominican, Allton made a career-high five catches for 71 yards — his second-best yardage total.
The loss put the Oilers at 2-2 overall and 1-1 in Great Midwest Athletic Conference play.
“A lot of little mistakes here and there,” Allton said. “… We’re stressing this week that we’re not running the right route at the right depth. We’re letting the corners get off our blocks at the last moment. If we would’ve held it a second later, the run would pop for 20 yards instead of five.”
Findlay looks to bounce back this week when it travels to meet Lake Erie College (0-4, 0-1) in a noon GMAC game Saturday in Painesville.
Here are three more things to know about UF’s matchup with the Storm:
START TO FINISH: Keys has stressed fast starts and finishing with touchdowns as a big difference in winning and losing its last three games.
The Oilers fell behind 24-0 at halftime to No. 9 Ferris State in Week 2 (59-13 loss) and 21-7 to ODU.
UF stalled twice in FSU territory in the first half and came up empty in the red zone twice in the second half against ODU. Both times they went scoreless in the first quarter.
“It’s a mentality,” Allton said. “We have to go out knowing we’re going to score this first possession.”
Meanwhile, Lake Erie has been outscored 44-5 in the first quarter.
The Storm yields 44.5 points per game and puts up 9.5 ppg.
Their only lead of the season, 2-0 against Malone, lasted for 1:44 seconds before eventually losing 42-12 in Week 2.
Last week, they got the ball first, drove down to the Hillsdale 5-yard line but got its 24-yard field goal attempt blocked.
ABOUT THE STORM: Lake Erie went 2-8 overall last season, 2-5 in its first season in the GMAC, switching over from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with Findlay, Walsh, Hillsdale and Ohio Dominican.
The Storm won the first meeting over the Oilers 49-45 in 2010 but have since dropped the last five.
Findlay prevailed 63-3 last year at home and won in Painesville 58-13 in 2016.
So far in 2018, Lake Erie suffered losses to Edinboro (69-0), at Malone (42-12), at Urbana (29-17) and at Hillsdale (41-7) last week.
Head coach Gerald Hazzard is in his second full season after adopting the interim tag in October of 2016. He’s been an assistant with the Storm since 2007 when they only had club status.
GROUND GAMES: None of Lake Erie’s five starting offensive linemen last week were on the roster a year ago.
The Storm start three freshmen and two sophomores up front and sport the second-worst rushing attack out of 167 Division II teams at 27.7 yards per game.
Leading rusher Antwan Hayes (17.5 ypg) has 70 yards on 34 carries.
Quarterback Javarian Smith (6-2, 190) leads with 48 rushing attempts.
He’s been far more potent through the air, completing 56 percent (74 of 130) of his passes for 195 ypg with four touchdowns and four interceptions.
“He does a good job spreading the ball around; they play a lot of spread formations,” Keys said.
Meanwhile, UF’s returning leading rusher from last season Michael Campbell started at cornerback last week for the first time.
The bruising Richard Wilson (5-10, 234) filled in for 159 yards and two touchdowns against ODU.
The Oilers were a bit thinner in the secondary against the Panthers as seniors Chewy Chukwuneke and Francis Cutchember were both inactive for the second straight week.
Junior starting cornerback Tyler Lee had to be helped off the field in Saturday’s game with an apparent knee injury.
“It’s still kind of blurry,” Keys said. “We’re still waiting to hear from the trainer about who’s available this week and what not.
“All in all, we do have some injuries like everybody else. That being said, good programs find ways to insert the next person and still play to the standard.”