By ANDY WOLF
CANTON — Different quarterback. Same dynamic offense.
With starter Rhys Gervais injured, Adam Bertke filled in seamlessly.
He helped the University of Findlay football team orchestrate 14- and 2-play scoring drives to start and put up 30 points in the first half.
The Oilers didn’t let up, topping Walsh 47-3 in both teams’ first Great Midwest Athletic Conference game.
“It feels great. It was a team effort all the way,” Bertke said. “We came out firing. We didn’t let up at all. Everybody did their job and we made some plays.”
Findlay improved to 4-1 overall, 1-0 GMAC. Walsh is 0-5, 0-1.
Gervais, a third-year starter and holder of virtually every UF passing record, went down with a left leg injury in the second quarter of last week’s 61-0 drubbing of Tuskegee.
Bertke did much more than simply an adequate job as a replacement, throwing for 272 yards (14 of 26) and three touchdowns with no turnovers in three quarters of action.
“I was happy with my play,” Bertke said. “Everybody really helped me out today, making plays.”
Findlay coach Rob Keys was equally pleased.
Gervais made the trip to Canton but Keys said the UF coaching staff decided to keep him out and opted for continued evaluation.
Bertke admitted he was “pretty nervous” making his first start since his senior year in high school when he led Marion Local to an OHSAA Division VI state title.
Nothing like a 14-play, 65-yard drive that ate up almost 7 minutes of clock to clear the butterflies. Sylla (113 yards, 1 TD) carried eight times for 33 yards on the series.
Bertke only threw four passes on that opening drive, the last hitting tight end Luke Stuffel in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard score.
Just two plays later, Keys let him air one out to Airion Kosak (3 catches, 85 yards) who got a step on a defender and hauled in a 52-yard strike to put UF up 14-3.
“It was kind of one of those things where we wanted to take a shot,” Bertke said. “We were having a pretty good amount of success running the ball and everybody knows when you have a good chance running the ball, you want to take your shots.
“I’m glad coach called that to give me a shot. Good play by Airion, line held up for me nice all day.”
After the first UF punt in three games, Michael Campbell scored on a 4-yard run, Berkte found Kosak again for a 24-yard score and Riverdale grad Grant Loveridge hit a 21-yard field goal to give the Oilers a 30-3 halftime edge.
UF dominated possession again, running 49 plays to Walsh’s 21 with a 365-74 edge in first half yardage, 548-183 in all.
Walsh running back Kalvin Gordon accounted for 50 of those yards when he broke free only to be chased down by Aaron Ivory.
The Cavaliers had to settle for a Kasey Tingler 43-yard field goal.
Bluffton grad Mitchell Ault made his third straight start at quarterback for Walsh.
He completed 2 of 6 attempts for 3 yards in the first half, 25 yards (4 for 11) in all and was sacked three times.
Aaron Ivory picked Ault off on the second play of the second half and returned it 32 yards for a score. He also had a pick-six against Tuskegee, also on the second play of the second half.
“You look at A.I., his body of work over his career here,” Keys said of Ivory. “If we can get our seniors to play our best football their senior year then we’re proud of them and that’s what the program is supposed to be. A.I. is on top of his game. He’s such an integral part of our defense, his leadership, is command, his calm in the secondary.”
Ivory and Chiebuka Chukwuneke co-led the Oilers with seven tackles each.
Anthony Kastelic, Kyle Gibson and Ashton Elmore each had a sack for UF with Kastelic forcing a fumble.
Like they did last week, the second-string defensive unit posted a second-half shutout.
Findlay 14 16 17 0 — 47
Walsh 3 0 0 0 — 3
Fin — Stuffel 6 pass from Bertke (Demler kick)
Wal — FG Tingler 43
Fin — Kosak 52 pass from Bertke (Demler kick)
Fin — Campbell 4 run (Demler kick)
Fin — Kosak 24 pass from Bertke (kick failed)
Fin — FG Loveridge 21
Fin — Ivory 32 interception return (Loveridge kick)
Fin — Sylla 20 run (Loveridge kick)
Fin — FG Loveridge 21
First Downs 27 10
Rushes-yards 46-267 34-128
Passing Yards 281 55
Comp-Att-Int 16-29-0 6-17-1
Punts-Avg. 2-38.5 6-31.2
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 3-51 3-16
rushing — Findlay, Sylla 21-113, Slagel 11-90, Campbell 6-48, Bertke 3-8, Rettig 3-3, Schimmoeller 1-3, Gdula 1-2. Walsh, Gordon 6-57, Adu-Poku 10-26, Wilson 4-24, Cook 3-19, Johnson 1-9, King 2-6, Salas 2-3, Gassman 1-(-5), Ault 5-(-11).
passing — Findlay, Bertke 14-26-0–272, Gdula 2-2-0–9. Walsh, Gassman 2-6-0–30, Ault 4-11-1–25.
receiving — Findlay, Kosak 3-85, Moore 5-84, Allton 4-84, Hill 1-13, Densel 2-9, Stuffel 1-6. Walsh, Hurst 2-30, Gordon 2-22, Cook 1-2, Adu-Poku 1-1.