Ohio Northern scored 31 points in a scrimmage against Italian Football League club team Roma Grizzlies at the Salaria Sport Village in Rome.
Torrential rains during the hours before kickoff impacted the playing surface of the venue, so the decision was taken to play a scrimmage-style game, allowing each team equal possessions.
Quarterback Will Freed led the Polar Bears in passing, completing 6 of 14 attempts for 147 yards and 2 touchdowns and also rushed for a score. His first strike was a five-yard pass to Lucas Huber for open a 6-0 lead then Freed’s aerial attack led to a second touchdown, reeled in by Ethan Edwards.
Nick Rezek came up with an interception to halt the Grizzlies’ reply and Dan Eller also produced a pick as the Polar Bears defense held firm. Matt Laubscher took over under center and increased the lead to 18-0 with a 33-yard pass to Bert Marks and the sophomore quarterback ended the day with 4 of 5 attempts completed for 63 yards.
Freed carried the ball into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown to increase the points advantage to 24 and then Allen Boss claimed two interceptions to stifle the Grizzlies offense. The final points came as Caleb Saalfield burst to pay dirt on a seven-yard run and Andrew Di Mario added the extra point.
Polar Bears rushers were led by Will Poffenberger (15-72) and Saalfield (3-46-1), while Trent Stout (1-38), Boss (5-15) and Freed (2-12-1) also got in on the action. Edwards posted 100 receiving yards and a touchdown from three catches, followed by Saalfield (2-44), Marks (2-33-1), Riley Bransteter (1-19), Malachi Nolletti (1-9) and Lucas Huber (1-5).
Boss led the defense with 4 tackles and a tackle for a loss to add to his 2 interceptions, while Tim Sayer (1.5), Stout (1) and Scott Rapps (0.5) collected the sacks. Jason Lucas broke up 3 passes, Ian Deye 2 and Bryce Bostelman 1.
Taking advantage of NCAA rules that allow D-III colleges to travel every three years, the Polar Bears have experienced the cultural sights of Greece and Italy, having previously visited Ireland in 2013, Italy in 2010 and Germany in 2007, all as part of the Global Football annual spring tours schedule. The group returns home on Tuesday, May 17 after spending Monday touring ancient Rome.