The Eagles (6-4, 4-1) set team records for passing yards (424), total yards (783) and scoring. The offensive accomplishments were even more impressive considering they played without running back and overall yards leader L.J. Stegall, who missed the game with a separated shoulder.
Reinhardt was also missing a key member of their defense, defensive end Tevin McCoy, who was suspended for his ejection from the Eagles’ loss to Cumberland a week ago.
In the absence of Stegall, other players, such as quarterback Ryan Thompson, stepped up. Thompson was 17-of-25 for an interception and three touchdowns — each for more than 40 yards. For his first touchdown, he completed a 44-yard pass to Tyler Bradley for a 7-0 lead.
After Campbellsville (4-6, 3-2) scored and the Reinhardt offense was back on the field, Thompson aired the ball out once more. This time, he found Aaron Kennedy for a 79-yard touchdown.
Reinhardt coach Danny Cronic said the win was particularly impressive because the team overcame a lot.
“It was exciting and it was stressful, but it was great,” Cronic said in a university release. “To do this without a key starter on either side of the ball is really special.”
At the end of the first quarter, the score was knotted at 14-all, but the Bulldogs quickly changed that, going up 21-14 for their first lead of the game.
It took the Eagles a couple of possessions to even the score before Thompson connected with Bradley for a 47-yard touchdown pass.
Cronic praised his receivers a week after they had several dropped balls, which hurt Reinhardt in its loss to Cumberland.
“Our guys made catches that were just unbelievable,” Cronic said. “We had some guys tipping balls to themselves and just made some great, athletic plays. I think that was a key to our points (Saturday).”
After Bradley’s touchdown and Campbellsville took over, the Reinhardt defense made its presence known by forcing a fumble when the Bulldogs were poised to score.
The Eagles’ offense then used eight plays to drive the ball 85 yards. Running back P.J. Greene, who spent most of the season on the sidelines with an injury, scored his first touchdown of the season with a 15-yard run.
Campbellsville added a quick touchdown, which gave the Eagles one final possession before halftime. Reinhardt made it to midfield before time ran out, and Matthew Moon’s 40-yard field-goal attempt was good for a 31-28 lead at the half.
The Eagles received the kickoff for the second half and pushed their lead to 10. Once more moving the ball on the ground, Elliot Clark scored from 11 yards out.
After a Campbellsville fumble was recovered by Ladrell Cammon, Reinhardt went back to work from the Bulldogs’ 15. Greene scored his second touchdown of the game three plays later as the Eagles’ lead grew to 45-28.
Campbellsville cut into the lead after the teams traded punts, but Reinhardt got the final score of the third quarter when T.C. Carter punched the ball in from 1 yard out to restore the 17-point lead.
Early in the fourth quarter, Sam Jones ended a four-play drive with a 29-yard trip to the end zone. After another Campbellsville touchdown, Jonathan Abrams scored on a 2-yard run to complete the Eagles’ scoring.
Campbellsville added a touchdown in the final 2 minutes, but after it failed to recover an onside kick, Reinhardt ran down the clock for the win.
Greene finished with 114 yards on the day, while Jaylen Dodd had 132 all-purpose yards — 34 rushing, 58 receiving and 40 on kickoff returns.
Philip Leconte and D.J. Brown each recorded a sack, while Adrian Hayes intercepted a pass on the final play of the first half.
Although the Eagles ended the season 6-4, they still have a chance of being invited to the NAIA playoffs after going 4-1 in their division. Cronic said his opinion doesn’t carry much weight, but he feels the case could be made that Reinhardt should get in.
“If it came down to between us and Faulkner, I think we should get in there since we beat them,” Cronic said. “But there are a lot of great teams in the conference. It’s so tough to take a lot of teams from one conference. We would love to be in the playoffs, but I’m not trying to say we should be. But we were very happy with how (Saturday) went. They might try to give out stuff that says we ended up as co-champion, but in my opinions, because of what we did on the field (against Faulkner), we are the champions. I feel very strongly about that.”