Yellow Jackets Sports Weekly Recap (Nov. 7- Nov. 13)

By: Brandon Unverferth

Photography: Hanna Young

Football: Sat. Nov. 12

Defiance 17 (3-7), Bluffton University 14 (2-8)

Senior #10 Justin Caballero recovers a 3rd quarter fumble @ Bluffton

The Defiance College football team traveled to Bluffton, Ohio, Saturday afternoon to take on the Bluffton Beavers (HCAC conference opponent) in the battle for “The Hammer”. Dwight Salzman Stadium was covered in snow, but this did not stop Yellow Jackets fans from attending this historic rivalry. Three and a half minutes into the game (11:30 left in the first) senior wide receiver Machari Bighams rushed into the endzone from 8 yards out, to give Defiance a quick 7-0 lead. Defense was the name of the game for the remainder of the first half, as neither team was able to find any opportunity to put points on the board. Nearly three minutes into the third quarter (12:13 left) senior quarterback Jordan Ambrose rushed into the endzone from 2 yards out, to extend the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 14. With 7:53 left in the third quarter, Bluffton senior quarterback Bobby Bourke connected with freshman wide receiver CJ Thompson for a 7-yard touchdown strike, to cut the Defiance lead in half (14-7). Near the midway point of the fourth quarter (7:59 left), Beavers junior wide receiver Treavon Cummings fought his way into the endzone from one yard out, to tie the game at 14. Following a Bluffton 14-0 scoring run, the Yellow Jackets needed to respond, and they did just that. With 2:42 left in the game, sophomore kicker Zeke Sanchez showed his level of “clutchness” as he “punched one through the goalposts” to give Defiance the lead once again 17-14. On the ensuing possession, Bluffton freshman CJ Thompson returned the kickoff to the Defiance 46-yard line. Bluffton had the ball down to the Defiance 22-yard line, but back-to-back penalties placed the Beavers in a 2nd and 32 from the Defiance 44-yard line. The Defiance defense held their ground as they forced back-to-back incomplete passes, before forcing a Bluffton turnover on downs. Senior quarterback Jordan Ambrose threw for 66 yards and rushed for 57, including one rushing touchdown. Senior wide receiver Machari Bighams rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown. Senior tight end Cole Recker took over punting duties and tallied 281 yards on eight kicks, including a pin inside the 20-yard line. Senior free safety Jaylen Redd led Defiance in tackles with 10, including one tackle for loss. Senior slotback Justin Caballero and junior defensive lineman Richard Pope IV each recorded eight tackles, while senior defensive tackle Rigo Villa and senior inside linebacker Thomas Coltrain had seven. Freshman defensive back Kobe Dade picked off Bluffton senior quarterback Bobby Bourke once, while senior Justin Caballero and junior Richard Pope IV each recovered one fumble apiece.

When senior TE Cole Recker was asked by The Defender about his overall thoughts on the season, he expressed, “We grew a lot as a team this year. We showed maturity and started to become the team we know we could be. This season was definitely what I expected and the new coaching staff is helping us grow to the next level. I am so proud of the guys and how we finished the year. I can’t wait to see what the team can accomplish in the years to come.”

Men’s Basketball: Mon. Nov. 7, Fri. Nov. 11, and Sat. Nov. 12

11/7: Oakland University 92, Defiance 27 (Exhibition)

The Defiance College men’s basketball team traveled to Rochester, Michigan, Monday evening to take on the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in exhibition action. The opportunity to play in an NCAA Division I environment provided the Yellow Jackets with a great learning experience. The goal of this contest was to recognize things that work well and differentiate those skills from the things that need improvement. The starters in this contest included (senior) Marell Jordan, (senior) Kiewaun Graham, (senior) Dejsani Beamon, (sophomore) Landen Swanner, and (freshman) Evan Conrad. A third of Defiance’s points came from the three-point line as senior Jerome Johnson, sophomore Landen Swanner, and freshman Jakob Trevino; each put one through the net from “downtown”. Senior Marell Jordan led the way in scoring for the Yellow Jackets with 8, while sophomore Jake Segulin captured a team-high 4 rebounds. The Golden Grizzlies shot an impressive 57.9% from the field, including 38.5% from three-point range. Defiance shot 61.5% from the free-throw line. Scoring for the Yellow Jackets came from eight different players including senior Marell Jordan (8), senior Jerome Johnson (3), sophomore Landen Swanner (3), senior Jabryis Heidelburg (3), freshman Jakob Trevino (3), junior Sherod Brooks (3), junior Easton Lewis (2), and freshman Jordyn Jury (2).

11/11: Defiance 88 (1-0), Miami University-Middletown 79 (0-3)

The Yellow Jackets men’s basketball team welcomed the Miami-Middletown ThunderHawks to the Karl H. Weaner Center Friday evening to kick off the Defiance Purple & Gold Tournament. The starters in this contest included (senior) Marell Jordan, (senior) Kiewaun Graham, (senior) Dejsani Beamon, (sophomore) Landen Swanner, and (freshman) Evan Conrad. For the majority of the first half, Defiance was only able to hold a slight lead. In the final few minutes of the first half, however, the Yellow Jackets ended with a 12-6 run, which extended the lead to 12 into the halftime break (41-29). Defiance was able to build upon their first-half momentum in the second half, by shooting an outstanding 61% from the floor. Even with the incredible second-half shooting percentage, the ThunderHawks were still able to outscore Defiance 50-47. Defiance’s largest lead (18) came with 13:08 left in the contest, following a pair of baskets from (senior) Marell Jordan and a lay-in from (senior) Jabryis Heidelburg. The Yellow Jackets were led by a trio of double-digit scorers including (all seniors) Marell Jordan with 24, Kiewaun Graham with 12, and Dejsani Beamon with 11. Miami-Middletown’s (junior) Lorenzo Sparks led all scorers with 28 points. Two other ThunderHawks finished in double-digits including (senior) Isaiah Brooks with 16 and (freshman) Nicholas Pierett with 15. Defiance splashed home nine threes in the game compared to the ThunderHawks’ six. The Yellow Jackets committed 13 turnovers but forced 18 by Miami-Middletown. Defiance narrowly outrebounded the ThunderHawks, 34-31.

11/12: Wilmington College 81 (2-0), Defiance 72 (1-1)

The Defiance College men’s basketball team hosted the Wilmington Fightin’ Quakers Saturday afternoon at the Karl H. Weaner Center to wrap up the Defiance Purple & Gold Tournament. After taking down Spalding on Friday night, the Fightin’ Quakers swept the weekend with a victory over Defiance. The starters in this contest included (senior) Marell Jordan, (senior) Kiewaun Graham, (senior) Dejsani Beamon, (sophomore) Landen Swanner, and (freshman) Evan Conrad. The Yellow Jackets found themselves down 28-21 late in the first half, but thanks to a quick scoring run they were able to tie the game at 34, with a minute left until halftime. Senior Abdul Kanu responded quickly for the Quakers as he scored two baskets in the final 30 seconds, to regain the Wilmington lead 38-34, into the break. Kanu’s second hoop in that sequence was a breakaway dunk, which led to a double technical foul as time expired; one by Kanu for slapping the backboard and the other by Defiance head coach Josh Gibson for advocating for the call. The infractions forced the second half to start with a pair of free throws for Wilmington and one for Defiance. Coming into the second half, both teams had impressive shooting percentages, with Wilmington shooting 53.6% (15 for 28) and Defiance 50% (13 for 26) from the field. Following the technical free throws to start the second half, Wilmington went on a 12-3 run into the first media timeout. The Fightin’ Quakers’ lead grew to as much as 22 (64-42) with 11:06 remaining, before the Yellow Jackets started to build momentum. A pair of three-pointers by senior Marell Jordan and sophomore Landen Swanner got the Defiance offense back in rhythm midway through the second half. The Yellow Jackets’ success from the free throw line played a major role in this charge, as Defiance managed to score on 16 of their 22 second-half attempts from the charity stripe. Defiance was able to claw their way back to within 10 at the final media timeout, but the Quakers’ quick second-half start proved to be too much for the Yellow Jackets. Senior Marell Jordan led all scorers in this contest with 30 points, while sophomore Clayton McCorkle (8), freshman Evan Conrad (7), senior Kiewaun Graham (6), senior Jabryis Heidelburg (6), junior Easton Lewis (6), sophomore Landen Swanner (5), senior Te Jones (2), and junior Sherod Brooks (2); also attributed to the Defiance scoring total. Wilmington finished with a trio of players in double-figures including sophomore Obed Achirem (20), senior Abdul Kanu (19), and sophomore Bryce Bird (14). The Fightin’ Quakers shot 52.5% from the field (32-61), while Defiance shot 42.6% (23-54). Wilmington led the way in second-chance points 12-7, while the Yellow Jackets had more points off turnovers (20-18). Senior Kiewaun Graham led the way in rebounds for Defiance with 7, while senior Jabryis Heidelburg had a team-high 3 assists.

When senior Grant Johnson was asked by The Defender about his thoughts following the Purple & Gold Tournament weekend, he expressed, “We learned a lot about ourselves this weekend. We showed good fight, but we need to execute and rebound at a higher level. It’s very early in the season, so we will look at the tape and come back on Monday ready to work.”

Women’s Basketball: Tues. Nov. 8

Kenyon College 55 (1-0), Defiance 54 (0-1)

The Yellow Jackets women’s basketball team traveled to Gambier, Ohio, Tuesday evening to take on the Kenyon Owls. The starters in this contest included (graduate) Taylor Day, (senior) Taylor Steinbrunner, (junior) Cait Good, (sophomore) Kaitlin Paul, and (freshman) Kalista Friday. 1-minute and 55 seconds into the game, senior Taylor Steinbrunner scored the first points of the season for Defiance, with a layup to tie the game at 2. The Yellow Jackets were able to stretch out to a 12-10 lead at the conclusion of the opening quarter. The Owls fought back in the second quarter to retake the lead 29-28 into the halftime break, thanks to a pair of three-pointers from senior Katie Orefice and freshman Mikayla Rudolph. Senior Taylor Steinbrunner once again got the scoring started for Defiance in the third quarter as she was able to maneuver herself to the basket for a layup to give the Yellow Jackets the lead back, 30-29. The Yellow Jackets outscored the Owls 17-10 in the third quarter, thanks to a pair of three-pointers from sophomore Teagan Hunt and junior Kylie Brinkman. Going into the final 10 minutes of play, Defiance led by a score of 45-39. The fourth quarter was a thriller, as both teams swapped the lead numerous times. With 1:12 left in the game, graduate Taylor Day scored a much-needed layup (off an assist from junior McKenzie Cooper) for Defiance, to push the Yellow Jackets ahead 54-53. With just five seconds left in the game, Kenyon senior Katie Orefice scored the game-winner for the Owls, as she was able to find an open lane to the basket for the driving layup. Each team had a trio of double-digit scorers. Defiance’s trio included graduate Taylor Day (14), senior Taylor Steinbrunner (13), and senior Lexie Sparks (10). The trio for Kenyon included senior Katie Orefice (22), junior Claudia Cooke (18), and freshman Mikayla Rudolph (10). Yellow Jackets graduate Taylor Day led the way in the rebounds category with 11, while senior Taylor Steinbrunner was not far behind with 7. Six different players for Defiance recorded an assist in the contest including (graduate) Taylor Day, (senior) Taylor Steinbrunner, (junior) McKenzie Cooper, (junior) Kylie Brinkman, (freshman) Addy Allen, and (freshman) Kalista Friday. Defiance shot 33.9% from the field, while Kenyon shot 30.2%. Both teams shot an identical 13-20 from the free-throw line (65%). Defiance dominated bench points 20-4, while Kenyon was able to hold key advantages in offensive rebounds (17-11) and second-chance points (10-0).

When junior McKenzie Cooper was asked by The Defender about her thoughts following the season opener, she expressed, “I thought we did pretty well considering it was our first game of the year. We made some mistakes in this game, so we definitely have a few things to clean up before our next matchup. We had a few players step up last night and I think that’s going to set the tone for how we want to play the rest of the season.”

Men’s Cross Country: Sat. Nov. 12

The Defiance College men’s cross-country team traveled to Holland, Michigan, Saturday morning for the NCAA Division III Regionals at Hope College. Defiance competed against over 26 other Division III institutes during the competition. John Carroll University junior Alex Phillip took home the victory (23:56.7), while Wilmington College junior Simon Heys finished in the runner-up spot (24:23.0), and Case Western Reserve University junior Jack Begley rounded out the podium (24:26.8). Freshman Alex Burney led the trio of Yellow Jacket runners with a 194th place finish (out of 272) with a time of 27:41.4. Freshman Marlon Brown finished in 268th place with a time of 33:26.2, while sophomore Gavin Maratea finished in 272nd with a time of 40:01.1.

Women’s Cross Country: Sat. Nov. 12

The Yellow Jackets women’s cross-country team traveled to Holland, Michigan, Saturday morning for the NCAA Division III Regionals at Hope College. Defiance competed against over 26 other Division III institutes during the competition. Hope College senior Anastasia Tucker took home the victory (20:46.0), while Franciscan University junior Claire Walters finished in the runner-up spot (21:06.0), and Calvin University sophomore Jenna Allman rounded out the podium (21:11.7). Freshman Shyla Pemberton, the lone runner for the Yellow Jackets, finished in 244th (out of 247) with a time of 29:14.3.


Wednesday, Nov. 16

Men’s Basketball (1-1) vs Alma College (0-1)

Location: Karl H. Weaner Center

(7:30 pm)

Saturday, Nov. 19

Men’s Basketball (1-1) vs Adrian College (1-1)

Location: Karl H. Weaner Center

(3:00 pm)


Tuesday, Nov. 15

Women’s Basketball (0-1) at Ohio Wesleyan University (1-1)

(7:00 pm)

Thursday, Nov. 17

Men’s Basketball (1-1) at Wright State University (1-1)


(7:00 pm)

Saturday, Nov. 19

Wrestling at Baldwin Wallace University (Baldwin Wallace Invitational)

(10:00 am)

Sunday, Nov. 20

Women’s Basketball (0-1) at St. Mary’s College (2-0)

(1:00 pm)

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