Harding Football To Quarterfinals


ASHLAND, Ohio – Cole Chancey rushed for 165 yards and four touchdowns to lead Harding into the NCAA Division II national semifinals for the second straight season. Harding defeated its second straight top-10 team on the road in two weeks with a 34-24 victory over No. 9 Ashland. Last week, Harding defeated No. 6 Indianapolis 24-17 in Indiana.

The victory was Harding’s 10th straight after starting the season with three straight losses. The Bisons, the No. 7 seed in Super Region 3, will take on No. 4 Ferris State next Saturday at 11:00 CST, again on the road.

Harding’s win snapped an 11-game winning streak for Ashland (11-2) and ended an 11-game home winning streak, the fourth-longest active streak in Division II.

How it Happened
Chancey, a freshman from Commerce, Georgia, scored touchdowns of 17 and 33 yards on Harding’s first two possessions, and the Bisons led 17-7 at halftime. It was only the second time Ashland trailed at halftime this season.

Chancey tacked on his third rushing TD in the third quarter on a 1-yard run that came after junior quarterback Terrence Dingle hooked up with senior wide receiver Kohl Blickenstaff on a 76-yard pass.

Ashland answered with a six-play, 64-yard drive with sophomore Luke Ogi scoring on a 5-yard TD run. The Bisons led 24-14 with 1:23 left in the third.

Chancey scored his fourth TD of the game for the second time this season on a 47-yard run with 12:27 remaining in the game. The score came after Harding’s defense held Ashland on 4th-and-2.

Ashland cut Harding’s lead to 31-21 with 9:24 left on a 17-yard TD pass from Travis Tarnowski to tight end Michael Schweitzer, and the Eagles capitalized on Harding’s only turnover, a fumble, to close within 31-24 with 5:23 left.

Harding needed one final drive to clinch the victory. On 3rd-and-10 at the HU 25, Dingle connected with Andrew Dather on a 10-yard completion. Two plays later, senior slot back Zach Shelley took a pitch around right end and went 51 yards down the sideline to the Ashland 12. The Eagles used all three of their timeouts, and on 4th-and-2 at the Ashland 4, Harding’s Tristan Parsley kicked a 21-yard field goal to seal it with 1:26 left.

Facts and Figures
Harding’s 10-game winning streak is its second longest in program history and the second time in two seasons that the Bisons have won 10 or more consecutive games. Harding has won seven straight road games.

Harding rushed for 295 yards and passed for a season-high 126 yards, completing 3-of-5 passes after going the last two games without a pass completion.

Junior linebacker Sam Blankenship had 13 tackles to surpass Said Perez’s NCAA-era record of 113 tackles in 2000. Blankenship now has 118 tackles this season.

Parsley’s two field goals and four extra points made him the highest-scoring kicker in program history with 252 points.

Chancey’s career-high 165 rushing yards gave him 1,153 for the season. He became the first Harding freshman with more than 1,000 rushing yards in a season. It is the sixth most in an HU single season and
only four yards behind Park Parish’s total from last season.

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