Wesley Falls in National Quarterfinals - Dec 01, 2007
DOVER, Del. - Wesley College's run for a third consecutive NCAA South Region Championships came to an end this afternoon at Scott D. Miller Stadium at the hand of the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor 27-10. The Wolverines finish their season at 12-2.
Despite a spirited effort by their defense, the Wolverines were unable to overcome five offensive turnovers. UMHB used Wesley's first turnover, a fumble by Gene Knight, to gain the short field at Wesley's 25-yard line. Seven plays later, Crusader's quarterback Josh Welch lowered his shoulders on a sneak to get across the goal line. Crusader kicker Joel Munoz added the extra point to take an early seven point lead with 9:00 remaining in the first quarter.
Wesley battled back two possessions later by gaining good field position at the Cru's 48-yard line. Wesley drove to the 11-yard line but had to settle for a 28-yard Colin Blugis field goal to bring the score to 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.
Half way through the second quarter, the Cru added their own field goal, a 30-yard shot from Munoz to bring their lead back to seven at 10-3.
Wesley fired right back as Jason Schatz found an open Michael Clark who then outran the Cru's defense to the end zone. However, the play was called back due to an ineligible man downfield, crushing the home fans.
To further crush the Wesley momentum, Mary-Hardin Baylor's defense was able to stuff the Wesley offense on second and one, third and one, and then on fourth and one. The Wolverines had one more possession in the second quarter ending in a Jesse Volk punt. At the half the Cru held a 10-3 lead.
After holding the Crusader's vaunted rushing offense to only 88 first half yards, Wesley looked primed for another second half comeback. That would soon fade away. The Crusaders finally found a crack in the tough Wesley defense. Jarvis Thrasher found a quick seem and bolted 83-yards to the Wesley three-yard line. Two plays later Welch completed a pass to wide out Adam Aguilera for a two yard score putting the Cru ahead 17-3.
Then the turnover bug bit the Wolverines. On the ensuing kickoff, Wesley's Tim Stewart started on a nice return but had the ball punched out of his hands at the Wolverine 35-yard line, and was recovered by Aguilera. A stout Wesley defense was able to force the punt which went into the end zone for the touchback.
Wesley went four and out on their next possession and punted the ball back to the Cru. Starting on their own 40-yard line, the Cru began to assert themselves on a tiring Wesley defense. Cru running back, Quincy Daniels led the offense down the field in large chunks of real estate. On the Wesley 30-yard line, Daniels found the hole, beat a tackler and then raced to the corner of the end zone for the score. Munoz added the extra point and the Cru held a commanding 24-3 lead at 3:50 of the third quarter.
The Wolverines weren't finished just yet. Two possessions later, Wesley showed their quick strike capability as they spanned 84-yards in two plays. The first play was an amazing one handed catch by Michael Clarke for 64 yards. Then Schatz found Jon Lanouette in the end zone for the 20-yard score. Blugis added the extra point just before the end of the third quarter bringing Wesley within two scores at 24-10.
In the fourth quarter, the Crusaders started to grind it out on the ground, running down the clock. The Cru used a little over five minutes to drive the ball down to the Wesley eight-yard line ending in a 26-yard Munoz field goal. The score gave the Cru a three score cushion once again.
Wesley threatened on their next possession, but came up short on 4th and 10 from the Cru's 11-yard line. Schatz looked over the middle to Clarke, but the pass was knocked down by the Cru's Eric Henri.
Wesley would have one more possession late in the fourth, but the Cru's Brett Parker intercepted a Schatz pass. The Cru kneeled down the ball to end that game with a win at 27-10.
The Wolverines were led by senior defensive tackle, Jamaal Williams who garnered 12 tackles (3 solo, 9 assisted) on the day. Gabe Tranchetti was second with 11 tackles, 2 for loss. Senior All-American defensive end, Bryan Robinson, finished his stellar career as a Wolverine with 9 tackles (5 solo, 4 assisted) with 3 tackles for loss. Wesley's lone gained turnover was an interception by Eddie Donisi in the first quarter.
Statistically, the Wolverines gained 357 yards on offense, just shy of the Cru's 363. The most glaring differences were the five Wesley turnovers to one UMHB miscue, and a healthy time of possession edge to the Cru at 36:38 to 23:22.
The Crusaders will travel to UW-Whitewater next week in the NCAA Semifinals.