Without Robert Taylor on the Defiance College sidelines for the first time in 14 years, the Yellow Jackets won their second straight game in dominating fashion over winless Earlham on Satuday, 26-10.
Taylor, who spent the last nine years as the DC head coach and the previous five years to that as an assistant, abruptly resigned Tuesday, in a shocking development earlier this week.
But the Yellow Jackets shook off any distractions from a hectic week and outgained Earlham 446-110 in interim head coach Nate Jensen's debut.
"They came out with a lot of fire and a lot of enthusiasm," said Jensen. "They were ready to go from the very beginning as a team and that was the biggest thing. It was a lot of fun to coach today."
Just seconds into Saturday's game, Joey Chester gave the host Jackets an early shot in the arm by scampering 61 yards to the end zone on the third play of the game.
Earlham's Ryan Acosta lined a 54-yard wind-aided field goal through the uprights in the final minutes of the first stanza, but DC senior QB Rick Powell supplied a pair of scores in the second quarter to put the visiting Quakers behind the eight ball.
Powell found paydirt 58 seconds into the second quarter on a 26-yard run and hit wideout Nick Wiedenhoft on a 47-yard scoring strike 2:07 later for a commanding 21-10 DC advantage.
"Powell is phenomenal," lauded Earlham coach Gerry Keesling. "He had great offensive production today."
Powell finished with 301 yards of offense, including 136 on the ground.
"We knew it was going to be windy and we didn't have the wind to start so we tried to establish the run right away and get some things going to back them off," said Powell. "Basically do what we like to do best and pound the rock."
Meanwhile, the Earlham offense struggled all day to move the ball on the DC defense. The Jackets tallied four sacks, including 1 1/2 by senior bookend Joemese Scott. The Quakers (0-7, 0-5 HCAC) yielded only 1.6 yards per play and mustered only 33 yards on 22 rushes. Tony Sierra and Brad Sealy also added interceptions for the Jackets' defense.
"We don't have a real strong running game and the climate didn't allow us to throw the football much," said Keesling. "My hats off to Nate with all the difficulty that team has had to go through this week. Nate's a good guy and the staff are good people ... I'm happy for them. I hope people here give him a chance with all the turmoil they've had. To have a team together and all of them united with Rob being gone, I thought Nate did a good job of holding the fort and keeping things together. I'm proud of him, the staff and wish them the best of luck."
Earlham's best offensive drive of the game came midway through the third quarter when Dan Kerns hauled in a five-yard TD pass from Jacob Stewart to conclude an eight-play 48-yard drive that cut DC's lead to 21-10.
The Jackets added a safety late in the game to end the scoring.
"I may lose it because I'm pretty emotional at this time," said Jensen. "It's awesome, it's all for the kids, it's all for the players. I just stand on the sidelines and am a cheerleader on the sidelines for them. It's on them, they pulled together and it's on them this week.
I just want to thank everyone for their support."
DC (2-4, 2-2 HCAC) will look for its third straight win next Saturday at Anderson University.
First Downs 11 15
Rushing Yards 33-22 43-281
Passing Yards 83 165
Total Yards 105 446
Passing 9-31-2 12-29-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0
Earlham 3 0 7 0 - 10
Defiance 7 14 0 5 - 26
DC - Chester 61-run (Saunders kick).
EC - Acosta 54-field goal.
DC - Powell 26-run (Saunders kick).
DC - Wiedenhoft 47-pass from Powell (Saunders kick).
EC - Kerns 5-pass from Stewart (Acosta kick).
DC - Saunders 33-field goal.
DC - Safety.
RUSHING: Earlham - Stephens 9-31; Kayhill 4-10; Earls 5-9; Acosta 1-1; 8-(-4); Plummer 4-(-10); Stewart 2-(-15). Defiance - Powell 17-136; Chester 2-62; Kuesel 14-53; Blount 7-27; Williams 2-4; Team 1-(-1).
PASSING: Earlham - Stewart 6-19-1-64-1; Jenkins 3-12-1-19-0. Defiance - Powell 12-29-0-165-1.
RECEIVING: Earlham - Lingg 4-37; Earls 3-35; Kerns 1-5; Plummer 1-(-4). Defiance - Wiedenhoft 5-77; Chester 1-32; Cessna 1-17; Hartman 1-16; Weaver 1-9; Archie 1-6; Carrabino 1-4; Williams 1-4.