The Hilliard Davidson football team turned to its defense in the final quarter to hold off host Hilliard Bradley 17-9 on Sept. 13.

The Wildcats kept the Jaguars out of the end zone on two key possessions in the fourth quarter, as Davidson improved to 3-0 and Bradley dropped to 0-3.

Trailing 17-9 early in the fourth quarter, Bradley quarterback A.J. Mirgon was stopped short of the goal line on fourth-and-2.

Bradley also drove into Davidson territory on its final possession, but turned the ball over on downs at the Davidson 10-yard line in the closing seconds.

“It’s our philosophy and some people don’t like it, and I don’t care what people like or don’t like,” Davidson coach Brian White said. “Our philosophy is don’t give up the big play for touchdowns. They drove the field on us and they kept our defense on the field for long periods of time and our defense was suffering, but came up with the plays when they had to.”

Kristopher Thornton led the Wildcats, rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Thornton’s 52-yard touchdown run on the game’s first possession opened the scoring.

Bradley took advantage of a Davidson fumble on its next possession with Drayton Wahlenmaier’s 24-yard field goal pulling the Jaguars within 7-3 with 3 minutes, 3 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Jaguars took their first lead when Mirgon connected with Tayshaun Mayfield for a 22-yard score. The extra point failed as Bradley led 9-7 with 9:18 left in the half.

Davidson took advantage of a rare play on its next possession to take a 10-9 lead at halftime. After a low snap from center resulted in a missed field goal by the Wildcats, they retained possession when the Jaguars mishandled the loose ball and Davidson quarterback Evan Tekancic recovered. Carrier followed with a 30-yard field goal for the halftime lead.

Jonathan Weir scored on a 6-yard run in the third quarter for a 17-9 advantage. Mirgon completed 15 of 23 passes for 148 yards and the touchdown to Mayfield, who finished with six catches for 66 yards. Evan Yee rushed for 64 yards on 14 carries for Bradley.

“We have to score when we have opportunities and we didn’t take advantage of that,” Bradley coach Mike LoParo said. “It’s football. We’re a young team, but you can see we’re getting better every week and we’re hoping that’s going to pay off. We’re close.”

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

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Team 1 2 3 4 Final HILLIARD DAVIDSON 7 3 7 0 17 HILLIARD BRADLEY
3 6 0 0 9

HD—Thornton 52 run (Carrier kick)

HB—Wahlenmaier 34 FG

HB—T. Mayfield 22 pass from Mirgon (kick failed)

HD—Carrier 30 FG

HD—Weir 6 run (Carrier kick)