BEREA, OH — In a stunning display of redemption and sheer athletic prowess, Marietta College routed Baldwin Wallace 42-21 on Saturday, much to the chagrin of the home crowd. The win served as a sweet revenge for last year's last-second loss and cast a shadow over Baldwin Wallace's homecoming festivities.
Quarterback Connor Vierstra and running back Bryce Agnew were nothing short of sensational, combining for five rushing touchdowns. Agnew, in particular, put on a show that was both personal and remarkable. Hailing from Berea and starring at Berea-Midlark High School, the running back returned to a stadium he knew all too well.
He took the opportunity to remind his hometown of his skill, rushing for 139 yards and scoring an impressive three touchdowns. Each time he crossed the goal line, it was as if he was sending a message - this was his turf, and he was here to make a statement.
"It felt amazing to back back home. I knew there was going to be a lot of support for me since I'm a local guy. It just felt good to be on this field for the last time. I just knew today would be special," Agnew said postgame.
Agnew had over 40 close friends and family members in attendance for his last hoorah in Berea.
The Yellow Jackets closed out the first quarter with an early lead following a five-yard touchdown run from backup quarterback Derk Hutchison before Agnew powered his way into the end zone for 24-yards to put the Pioneers on the board.
Marietta's defense was another highlight of the day. Relentlessly pressuring Baldwin Wallace's offense, they forced a total of four turnovers. A botched snap between center Dominic Biagiotti and quarterback Joey Marousek was recovered in the end zone by Marietta linebacker Brady McManaway, giving the Pioneers their first win of the half. True freshman Lukas Ratliff made his presence felt with two crucial interceptions, further showcasing the depth and potential of Marietta's defense.
The Yellow Jackets kept things close as Marousek found tight end Austin Schuck wide-open for a 65-yard touchdown pass, giving the lead back to the Yellow Jackets with 9:01 left in the third.
The Pioneers would then go on to score on three consecutive drives with two rushing touchdowns from Agnew (19-yard & 10-yard scores) and an 8-yard run from Vierstra, giving them a 35-14 lead midway through the final quarter
The significance of this win cannot be understated. For Marietta College, this victory marked their first win at George Finnie Stadium in 18 long years. An entire generation of Marietta students had not witnessed a victory on this ground, making the win all the sweeter for Head Coach Andy Waddle’s team.
“Man, I’m unbelievably proud of our players. The work and effort that they put into this game, this season, and the seasons before just shows how much they pour into this,” said Waddle after the game.
While Baldwin Wallace's homecoming might have been spoiled, for Marietta College, this was more than just a game. It was about settling scores, breaking jinxes, and laying down a marker for the future of the Pioneer program.
As the Pioneers left the field with their heads held high, one could sense a change in the air. With performances like these, Marietta College is surely a team to watch out for in the upcoming season.
QB Connor Vierstra: 14-21 for 147 yards & 8 rushes, 33 yds, 2 TDS's
RB Bryce Agnew: 30 carries, 139 yards, 3 TDs
WR Dawson Snyder: 9 catches, 88 yards
DB Lukas Ratliff: 5 tackles, 2 Interceptions
DT Chance Knight: 11 tackles, 1 sack
Joey Marousek: 20-38 for 317 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
WR Vinny Lomeo: 4 catches, 80 yards, 1 TD
TE Austin Schuck: 1 catch, 65 yards, 1 TD
LB Mason Levasseur: 13 tackles, .5 sack
DE Hasim Rashid: 11 tackles, 1 TFL
The Pioneers (3-1, 2-1 OAC) are back home next week with a OAC matchup against the John Carroll Blue Streaks (3-1, 3-0). The Yellow Jackets (2-3, 2-2 OAC) have a week off before traveling to New Concord on 10/14 to face the Muskingum University Fighting Muskies.