DOVER, Del. – The No. 13/13 ranked Wesley College football team clinched their 13th consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament and at least a share of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship with a 30-20 win over Route 13 rival Salisbury on Saturday.
Facing a 20-13 halftime deficit, Wesley blanked Salisbury in the second half and scored 17 unanswered points to overtake Salisbury and claim the rivalry win.
Wesley outgained Salisbury 461-419. Senior wide receiver James Okike led the Wolverines with six catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Junior receiver Alex Kemp reeled in five passes for 101 yards. It was the first time multiple Wesley receivers gained more than 100 yards in a game since the first round of the NCAA Playoffs against Framingham State on Nov. 21, 2015.
Junior quarterback Khaaliq Burroughs went 14-of-23 passing for 272 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Burroughs also ran the ball eight times for 78 yards and a score. Sophomore tailback E.J. Lee picked up his ninth-straight 100-plus yard game with a 112-yard effort on 26 totes and a touchdown.
Five Wolverines picked up 10 or more tackles in the game. Senior linebacker Mike Sabino and junior safety Cappadonna Miller each tallied 13 stops. Miller added an interception and a half tackle for loss.
Senior cornerback DaJahn Lowery, senior linebacker Samer Manna and freshman defensive end Stefon Woodruff each picked up 10 tackles. Lowery and Manna each recorded two tackles for loss while Woodruff collected two quarterback hurries, 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Senior defensive tackle Stephen Yorkman chipped in with 1.5 sacks on Brandon Lewis.
After halftime, Wesley came out with a long 15-play, seven-and-a-half-minute long drive. The drive stalled in Salisbury's red zone and Nick Bruhn converted a 22-yard field goal to cut into the Salisbury lead 20-16.
Wesley forced Salisbury to punt on the following drive. Two plays later, Burroughs found Okike on a fly route for a 72-yard touchdown connection, their second touchdown of the game to take the 23-20 lead over Salisbury with a little over five minutes to go in the third quarter.
Salisbury was driving on their first possession of the fourth quarter after a failed Wesley fourth-down conversion on the previous drive. Facing a fourth-and-short, Lewis handed the ball to his superback Malique Pratt, who was stuffed by Yorkman at the line of scrimmage to give Wesley the ball back with eight minutes to go in regulation.
After a five-yard run by Lee, Burroughs kept it on an option play with Lee and ran down the sideline 65 yards for Wesley's insurance touchdown with 7:25 left in the game.
Miller sealed Wesley's berth in the NCAA playoffs with an interception in the end zone in the waning moments of the game.
The Wolverines (8-1, 8-0 NJAC) will be back in action next Saturday when they host the Christopher Newport Captains at Drass Field at 12 p.m. Prior to the game, the Wolverines will honor their seniors for Senior Day.