By ANDY WOLF
Senior nights in any sport come prepackaged with all sorts of emotion.
The No. 22-ranked University of Findlay football team concluded a 70-28 victory over Alderson Broaddus on a warm note, too.
Senior running back Chauncey Bridges, who hadn’t played since Week 2 due to injury, twice got to take a knee in the final minute and put a bow on the Oilers’ eighth straight victory.
Bridges was one of 10 seniors honored during a pregame celebration Saturday at Donnell Stadium.
“Those guys, the 10 seniors, have done a lot for this program,” UF coach Rob Keys said. “It’s a special day for them to play their last regular season home game. The biggest thing they talked about, it’s all about the relationships they built, how much they care about one another, how much they want to win for each other.”
The Oilers improved to 9-1 overall, 6-0 in the GMAC, to set up a conference championship game at Ohio Dominican (6-3, 6-0) noon Saturday in Columbus.
Alderson Broaddus, the reigning GMAC champs, fell to 2-8, 1-5.
Bridges’ moment nearly didn’t happen.
The idea was planned for UF’s last possession but junior Francis Cutchember returned an ABU kickoff 95 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown.
However, the Battlers fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving Findlay the ball at the ABU 13-yard line.
“With Chauncey, it’s sad because there’s more football left in him,” Keys said. “It’s unfortunate he’s not going to be able to play. It was in the cards, no doubt, when we recovered the fumbled kickoff to take that knee.”
Eight players scored for UF, which had touchdowns via a pass, a run, an interception return and a kickoff return.
One of those eight players was senior wide receiver Darnell Fields, who hadn’t caught a pass this season and had scored his only career touchdown as a freshman.
Fields turned his second reception of the day into a 9-yard score on a jumpball from Rhys Gervais to put UF up 28-7 in the first quarter.
“It definitely felt great,” Fields said. “It was overdue but we finally got there. It was a great feeling to celebrate with my teammates.
“Rhys definitely made a great check. All I did was make a move and get past him. Beautiful throw. Beautiful catch.”
Jacob Hill (13 yards) and Michael Campbell (56 yards) each caught touchdown passes from Gervais (230 yards).
Campbell, who turned in 113 rushing yards and two first-quarter rushing scores, broke out of a tackle at midfield for a short gain and zigzagged his way to the end zone.
In the third quarter with UF leading 42-7, backup quarterback Adam Bertke fired a pass over the middle to Jason Moore (89 yards) who broke a tackle and sprinted to a 52-yard score.
The touchdown was the 35th of Moore’s career, now a UF record, as are his 2,475 receiving yards.
Nate Slagel tacked on a 75-yard touchdown run up the gut in the fourth quarter and finished with a career- and game-high 134 rushing yards.
Findlay rolled up 581 yards and outgained ABU 360-98 in the first half.
The Oilers picked up 236 yards on the ground behind a reshuffled offensive line because of injuries.
Findlay was without senior left guard Andrew Alten for the first time. Andrew Dickinson and Logan Bailey held down the left side with Erick Eldridge starting at right tackle for Christian Olmstead.
“We were basically three sophomores and two freshmen across today,” Keys said. “I thought they did a really good job of handling that situation as the five starters and moving the ball.”
Defensively for the Oilers, Tyler Lee picked off ABU quarterback Patrick Bentley twice in the first quarter.
He returned the first one 47 yards for a touchdown and had thoughts of doing it again but fumbled the ball after taking it 20 yards out of the end zone. Teammate Johnny Hopkins recovered.
“That’s film study. I saw the signal the QB gave him, played the route and took it to the crib,” Lee said. “(On the second one) I was just trying to put it away.”
Aaron Ivory notched his fourth interception of the season while Isaac Miles (five tackles) and Kenneth Washington each recorded sacks.
Alderson Broaddus 7 0 0 21 — 28
Findlay 28 14 14 14 — 70
UF — Campbell 6 run (Allton kick)
UF — Lee 47 interception return (Allton kick)
AB — Thomas 100 kickoff return (Opsatnik kick)
UF — Campbell 1 run (Allton kick)
UF — Fields 9 pass from Gervais (Allton kick)
UF — Campbell 56 pass from Gervais (Allton kick)
UF — Hill 13 pass from Gervais (Allton kick)
UF — Moore 52 pass from Bertke (Allton kick)
AB — Bridgett 12 run (Opsatnik kick)
UF — Slagel 75 run (Loveridge kick)
AB — Waugh 25 pass from McWilliams (Opsatnik kick)
AB — Hagans 21 run (Opsatnik kick)
UF — Cutchember 95 kickoff return
First Downs 22 28
Rushes-Yards 43-246 36-237
Passing Yards 107 344
Comp-Att-Int 11-25-2 18-27-1
Punts-Avg. 2-40 1-38
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 7-40 5-35
rushing — Alderson Broaddus, Bentley 11-59, Collison-Cofie 12-56, Hagans 8-49, Pierre 6-36, Thomas 2-33, Bridgett 3-15, Opsatnik 1(-2). Findlay, Slagel 10-134, Campbell 17-113, Bertke 1-4, Hill 1-2, Rettig 2-2, Gervais 2-0, Gdula 1(-8).
passing — Alderson Broaddus, Bentley 7-19-3-61, McWilliams 4-5-0-46, Noon 0-1-0-0. Findlay, Gervais 13-20-0-230, Bertke 5-6-0-114, Gdula 0-1-1-0.
receiving — Alderson Broaddus, Cummings 3-34, Waugh 1-25, Lake 1-10, Collison-Cofie 1-10, Ball 1-9, Schoolcraft 1-7, Armstrong 1-5, Johnson 1-4, Thomas 1-3. Findlay, Moore 4-89, Hill 4-61, Campbell 1-56, Densel 3-56, Fields 2-35, Stuffel 2-22, Kosak 1-19, McCoy 1-6.