“The Rock” stays in University Heights following a win by JCU Football


JCU Sports Information Department

The JCU Football Team celebrates winning against BW and keeping “the rock” in University Heights.

Leah Harrigan, Staff Reporter

It is evident that nothing elicits such intense spirit more than an authentic game of college football. The distant melody of the pep band, echoes of a crowd that’s within a football-induced trance, and occasional sideline banter creates an unmatched environment that highlights the ethos of the game.

For the John Carroll University Football Team, a picture-perfect environment set the scene for their last matchup on Saturday, Sept. 17 against Baldwin Wallace University. 

But, this game, this particular face-off, wasn’t just “another Saturday”. 

The close-to-neighboring universities have a longstanding tradition, which has been coined as the Cuyahoga Gold Bowl. Each year, the Blue Streaks and Yellow Jackets play one another, the result dictating which school holds proper boasting rights until the following year. 

Stakes were high, energy was unmatched, and University Heights was alive with a unique vitality that only meant that JCU was gearing up to put on a show.

The Streaks ended up victorious, an admirable 21-7 win that served as the ideal serenade for the team’s first home game of the season. 

“I think that this win really lit a spark under our team for the rest of the season…our offense was clicking all day and our defense played lights out,” mentioned Cole Blodgett ‘23, a student assistant with a novel perspective on the game of football.

“We know that there are tough games throughout the season, but I think that this win at home gave all of our guys a ton of confidence heading into future weeks against any opponent,” added Blodgett.

The first half of play was intense. Both squads brought an undeniable liveliness to the field, which led to opportunities on both sides of the ball. Just under two minutes into the game, however, Tadas Tatarunas (5th year) pulled in a pass from Joe Collins ‘23, putting the Blue Streaks up 7-0, the point after the touchdown credited to kicker Yanni Volas ‘25.

Tadas Tatarunas during the game against BW on Saturday. (JCU Sports Information Department)

Tradeoffs of runs, punts and receptions kept the game at a steady 7-0 up until the whining seconds of the first half of the game. 

Going into the second slot of play, it seemed as if the strategy was the same: keep the spark alive.

“We really had a game plan of just making sure that we were playing our game all day long,” mentioned Blodgett.

“We wanted to make sure we played with a ton of energy throughout the game while also keeping our emotions under control,” added Blodgett.

The Blue and Gold did just that. In the second half, several Streaks tallied in the statistics column, from tackles, rushing yards, receptions and interceptions, John Carroll entered the remainder of the half with a special mindset that could only end in triumph.

Evan McVay ‘25 added to the point total with a run into the endzone midway through the third quarter. Later, Jon Marcus Roland ‘25 solidified the win with a 48 yard “pick 6” to put the score at 21-0 as the clock hit two minutes left in the fourth quarter. 

Throughout the second half, the Yellow Jackets struggled to gain momentum due to a relentless Blue Streak defense.

“Bricker Thiel ‘23 and Tyler Thimons ‘24 played lights out, were hungry, making important plays and tackles the whole game. I also think our defensive backs played at a high level all game which led to three takeaways,” commented Blodgett.

Thiel and Thimons both ended the game with 10 tackles, while Roland, Askew Kiefer (Graduate Student), and Dohntay Williams ‘25 all cut off passing lanes with crucial interceptions for John Carroll.

Dohntay Williams after a big play for the Blue Streaks on Saturday. (JCU Sports Information Department)

On both sides of the ball, the Blue and Gold had personnel that truly epitomized the importance of grit and tenacity in the game of football. With a home crowd advantage, a victory was the sweetest sensation, and nothing could stop the adrenaline rush within the veins of the Blue Streak’s roster. 

John Carroll added a 21-7 win to their record, putting their overall win/loss total at 1-1 thus far. 

“We knew that this game was going to be tough against a good opponent, but our guys knew that winning the game was important, but also keeping “The Rock” at JCU for the 10th season in a row was even more important,” reflected Blodgett.

After a gutsy win, John Carroll hopes to capitalize on the post-game euphoria with motivation geared toward their next game at Don Shula Stadium, against Heidelberg University. The scene is set to commence at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, Homecoming Weekend.