‘Everything is clicking’

Plenty of ‘good things’ on display in past two games


Usually when your defense allows just 12 points in two weeks, the defense would be the talk of the team.

But since the Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jacket’s offense tallied 89 points per game in the same time frame, both sides of the ball are getting recognized.

“I think everything is clicking,” Head Coach Jim Hilvert said. “We played complementary football and I think we did a lot of good things and a lot of guys contributed on both sides of the ball.”

After putting up 55 points in the second half of a 72-9 blowout against Wilmington, BW remained home at George Finnie Stadium and the defense led a defensive battle and BW defeated Marietta 17-3 for their fifth win in a row. Defensively, the Yellow Jackets had six sacks and forced four turnovers and recorded a season-high of 92 tackles. The team also improved to 4-0 at George Finnie Stadium this season, a mark they haven’t hit since 2010.

“It goes back to our team, and putting four quarters of good football together,” Hilvert said. “If we can continue to keep improving as a team on offense, defense, and special teams I like our chances.”

With a trip to Ohio Northern University on the way and Senior Day happening against crosstown rival John Carrol University, the team has set their target on competing and possibly playing spoiler. “It’s a rivalry game, so it wouldn’t even matter what the records are you have to be ready,” Hilvert said. “They’re ranked No. 10 in the nation right now, so everyone will have to be at their best. It’s nice we can play a rivalry game like this at home, which is great, and both teams are playing very well.”

The two teams will compete in the 31st Battle for Cuyahoga Gold Bowl, a trophy the two teams created in 1988. John Carroll has won six straight, and owns the head-to-head record with 17 wins in the 30 matchups. When John Carroll won last year’s matchup 45-35, it marked the widest margin of victory since 2014 when the Yellow Jackets fell 45-7.

And while the Yellow Jackets have been playing some of their best football, including a near 45-minute stretch when the outscored Wilmington 52-0, Hilvert knows the teams most daunting tasks for the team still lie ahead of them.

“Every game is a playoff game for us,” Hilvert said. “You have to take it one game at a time and Ohio Northern is a team that is always ready to play. We’re playing at their place where they’re 3-0, it’s always tough to play on the road but the guys know that, and they will be ready to play.”

On the offensive side of the ball, true freshman quarterback Keagan Armitage eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark and now sits at 1,237 yards in the near five full games he has played, with 13 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

Leading the offensive charge with Armitage, are junior wide receiver Iyan Mitchell and sophomore running back Jon Murray Jr. who both have scored seven touchdowns. Murray leads the team on the ground with 665 yards, and Mitchell leads with 637 receiving yards. “Those guys are obviously our playmakers,” Hilvert said. “But I think our offensive line did really well and we were able to run for over 300 yards against Wilmington. I think that it’s that idea of complimentary football, if our offensive line is doing well then that sets us up to have a good running game and a good passing game.”

Defensively, the Yellow Jackets have been led by juniors Taino Arocho and Sekou Imani who have 10, and 8.5 tackles for loss, respectively. They both also have five or more sacks, and Imani leads the team with 14 quarterback hits, three fumble recoveries and has recorded a blocked kick and a safety. “Sekou and those guys have an incredible knack for getting to the quarterback,” Hilvert said. “They have good hands, they’re very athletic and they have a high motor for getting to the quarterback.”