TIFFIN, OHIO – Freshman running back Anthony Bilal (Painesville, Ohio/Riverside) became Lake Erie College's single-season rushing and all-purpose yardage leader, but there was little else worth celebrating as the Storm dropped its second straight game to end the season, falling on the road at Tiffin University, 34-14, in the season finale Saturday (Nov. 10) at Frost Kalnow Stadium in Tiffin.
Bilal carried 21 times for 109 yards and a touchdown, posting his fourth 100-yard game of the season and running his season total to 855. His one yard touchdown run with 6:46 left in the first quarter tied the game at 7-7, but little went right for the Storm (3-8, 3-7 GLIAC) after that.
Trailing 10-7 early in the second, Lake Erie was unable to convert a fourth down-and-two from the Tiffin (3-8, 2-8 GLIAC) 10-yard line. After that, the host Dragons used a couple of big plays to break the game open.
Dan Pitts hit Pedro Correra for a 24-yard strike to make it 17-7. Then following a Lake Erie punt under three minutes to go in the quarter, Pitts connected with Marcus Beaurem for a 69-yard strike for a 24-7 score. The Dragons closed the first half scoring less than 1:30 later with an 84-yard interception return for a touchdown with a minute before halftime by Stefan Willis that put the home team up 31-7 heading into the locker room.
The Storm defense held the Dragons to just three points in the second half, but the Storm offense lost starting quarterback Brendan Gallagher (Aurora, Ohio/Aurora) and Patrick Nicely (Willoughby, Ohio/South/Akron) to injury and forced senior wingback Matt Krumpak (McDonald, Ohio/McDonald) into action at quarterback for the first time since the 2010 season and was unable to generate much late in the game.
Nicely did connect with redshirt freshman David Bojalad (St. Mary's, Pa./Elk County Christian) for a two-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter, but the Storm turned the ball over three times in the second half – all deep in Tiffin territory – and five times total.
Tiffin, meanwhile, did not give the ball away once on the day. Pitts completed 29-of-44 passes for 364 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Dragons. Jeremy Armstrong caught 11 passes for 88 yards to lead the Dragons, followed by Beaurem with eight catches for 150 yards and two TDs.
Lake Erie did record a season-high 445 yards on the day and had two receivers go over the 100-yard mark for the first time in their careers. Sophomore Andrew Schickler (Doylestown, Ohio/Chippewa) caught four passes for 101 yards and redshirt sophomore Tommy Jackson (Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard) caught three for 108. It was the first time since Oct. 23, 2010 that the Storm had a pair of 100-yard receivers in the same game.
The three Storm quarterbacks combined to complete 18-of-34 passes for 342 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. Gallagher was seven-of-14 for 170 yards with an interception. Nicely, though limited due to the knee injury suffered last month, completed six-of-seven throws for 87 yards and the touchdown to Bojalad.
The Storm defense held the Dragons to just 81 rushing yards. Sophomore Tanner Wells (Carrollton, Texas/Parish Episcopal) led the way with 13 total tackles while redshirt sophomore Marcus Rogers (Kent, Ohio/Roosevelt) had 10. End Kyle Herth (Harrison, Ohio/LaSalle) had two sacks.
Both teams finished with 445 total yards of offense, combined for 706 yards in the air.
Bilal became the first player in Lake Erie history to surpass the 800-yard rushing mark. He surpassed Tony Howard's 795 yards in the program's first season of 2008 in the record books. Bilal also finished with eight touchdowns on the ground this season, tied for third most in a single year, and his 1,104 all-purpose yards this year passed Demetrious Gray's 1,052 yards in 2010.