Heidelberg's players didn't deny that they were a little overhyped for their first home game of the 2012 campaign.
The Student Princes were shaky and sloppy in the first half, committing 93 yards of penalties and allowing Marietta to hang in the game.
Marietta's Tom Fulton gave the Heidelberg faithful a bit of a scare just before the half, when he found Linard Williams in the end zone, cutting Heidelberg's lead to 21-17 with 1:20 left.
It appeared to be a game-changer, since HU was struggling to stop Marietta's receivers, and the Pioneers were to get the ball to start the third quarter.
But Heidelberg quarterback Mike Mees needed just one play to change the momentum, and the game.
Two plays after the Pioneers' touchdown, Mees dropped back from his 35, and lofted a pass to teammate Donteea Dye, who shrugged off a tackle attempt and went into the end zone.
|Heidelberg 56, Marietta 24|
|Marietta||0||17||7||0 — 24|
|Heidelberg||14||14||21||7 — 56|
|H — Cartel Brooks 4 run (Dan Kilger kick), 10:05|
|H — C.J. Powell 67 punt return (Kilger kick), 6:54|
|M — Kirby Harris 12 pass from Tom Fulton (Conor Durina kick) 14:57|
|H — Brooks 4 run (Kilger kick), 13:59|
|M — Durina 20 field goal, 7:44|
|M — Linard Williams 11 pass from Fulton (Durina kick), 1:20|
|H — Donteea Dye 62 pass from Michael Mees (Kilger kick), 1:07|
|H — Christian Dominguez 55 pass from Mees (Kilger kick), 6:34|
|H — Chadd Williamson 26 interception return (Kilger kick), 6:19|
|M — Tannon Roberts 66 pass from Fulton (Durina kick), 5:20|
|H — Bryan Lacey 8 run (Kilger kick), 3:22|
|H — Powell 35 pass from Mees (Kilger kick), 9:06|
|RUSHING: Marietta — Quincy Bell 10-14; Fulton 9-(minus 22); Tevin Downs 3-10; Nick Awrey 3-6; Alexander Fountain 1-17. Heidelberg — Brooks 27-130; Lacey 5-66; Dontez Smith 3-18; Colin Bultinck 2-(minus 3); Mees 2-(minus 6); Michael Hales 1-(minus 1).|
|PASSING: Marietta — Fulton 24-48-4-351. Heidelberg — Mees 13-26-1-232; Bultinck 1-3-0-15.|
|RECEIVING: Marietta — Harris 8-148; Roberts 6-117; Sean Munfield 3-46; Josh Llaneza 2-9; Bell 2-7; Williams 1-11; Jake Kobilarcsik 1-10; Awrey 1-3. Heidelberg — Robert Gray 4-10; Dye 3-97; Powell 3-55; Aaron Kapelka 2-15; Dominguez 1-55; Derek Hug 1-15.|
The drive took all of 13 seconds.
"I think that was really important to give us some breathing room, and give us a little more comfort level," he said. "Going up plus four, plus 11 is a big difference."
"It was just about keeping our cool," said Mees, who finished with 232 yards passing and three touchdown passes.
And it was the beginning of a rout. Heidelberg outscored the Pioneers 28-7 in the second half and won big, 56-24.
"A lot of emotions in the game built up too much," said HU defensive back Chadd Williamson, who had a pick-six off Fulton in the third quarter and finished with five tackles. "We settled down in the second half, came out and did a lot better."
Heidelberg, the No. 23 team in Division III, improved to 4-0, 2-0 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. For the fourth-consecutive week, running back Cartel Brooks had a monster game, scoring two TDs and rushing 130 yards. C.J. Powell had a career game, returning a punt 67 yards for a touchdown and catching a 35-yard touchdown toss from Mees in the fourth quarter.
"We're a second half team," said Powell, who had three catches for 55 yards. "We're gonna turn it up, regardless."
Christian Dominguez (55-yard catch) and Bryan Lacey (8-yard run) also scored touchdowns for HU.
On defense, the Princes were led by lineman Ben Poirer, who had three sacks, five tackles for a loss.
"At least three (sacks)," Hallett said. "It seemed like he had about 12.
"He was banged up last week, so we held him out [against Wilmington]. I was kidding him after the game that it's real advantage to have fresh legs after a week off," Hallett said. "Ben's been playing very well. He's such an explosive player as an inside guy that we're able to take some matchups there with him athletically against some of (Marietta's) interior linemen, and it really paid off today."
Marietta's (0-4, 0-3) receivers had big days. Kirby Harris had 148 yards receiving and a touchdown, while Tannon Roberts had 117 yards and a TD.
Fulton threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns, but was intercepted four times (by Williamson, Chase Bauer, Mitchell Kelly and Larry Massey) and was sacked six times.