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Wesley defense firing on all cylinders

Aamir Petrose, left, and Sosthene Kapepula lead a Wesley defense that has a lot of players back.
Wesley athletics photo 

In their final game of 2013, Wesley’s defense allowed 62 points. In the 12 games prior to their season-ending quarterfinal loss to Mount Union, the Wolverines allowed fewer than 19 points per game. 

After giving up six offensive touchdowns and 447 yards of offense on Dec. 7, 2013, the Wolverines had 273 days to stew on their defensive performance. But who’s counting?

“I think it was a motivating factor. In that game, we didn’t play our best,” said head coach Mike Drass. “You get eight months to really think about giving up 62 points.”

Fortunately for the Wolverines, they returned eight defensive starters who spent the spring and summer dedicating every workout to erasing the memory of their last contest. The start of the 2014 season was a welcome relief, especially for the team’s seniors.

“It definitely gave me a chip on my shoulder,” said senior defensive end Aamir Petrose. “I was so eager to get back on the field. The last eight months were really hard for me.”

The first two weeks of the season presented the defense with big challenges. If they wanted to prove that the Mount Union game was a fluke, they would need to shut down two of the nation’s most potent offenses. Thomas More and Salisbury are also two of the most difficult offenses to prepare for, and the Wolverines needed to completely scrap their Week 1 game plan to prepare for Week 2.

Last season, Thomas More ranked 14th in the nation with 487.2 yards per game, 16th in the nation with 262.8 rushing yards per game, and 18th in the nation with 40.7 points per game. Running back Dom Hayden led the nation in rushing yards (201.7 per game), all-purpose yards (223.4), and scoring (16.8). Salisbury ranked 10th in the nation with 283.5 rushing yards per game. The Sea Gulls averaged 29.7 points per game in 2013.

The senior-laden defense made its statement in Week 1, holding the Saints to 20 points and holding Hayden to 92 rushing yards and keeping him out of the end zone. Salisbury opened its season by putting up 41 points and 338 rushing yards on a solid Christopher Newport defense. The following week, the Sea Gulls scored five points and rushed for just 173 yards against the Wolverines. Meanwhile, Thomas More put up 45 points in its second game of the season, led by Hayden’s 166 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

“We really came together,” said senior linebacker Sosthene Kapepula. “Every year is a learning experience, and I feel like I’m growing as my team is growing.”

Kapepula leads the Wolverines with 16 tackles despite being ejected in the second half of the season opener after collecting his second personal foul penalty of the game. Seniors Jordan Wescott and Matt Capetola and junior Julian Jones join Kapepula to form...

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Columnist

Adam Turer

Adam Turer graduated in 2006 from Washington and Lee University, where he was a two-year starter at free safety. He lives in Cincinnati and covers area high school sports in addition to his full-time job as an attorney. Adam has contributed to D3football.com since 2007 and is in his second year as Around the Mid-Atlantic columnist.

2007-2011 columnist: Ryan Tipps
2003-2006: Pat Cummings
2000: Keith McMillan
1999: Pat Coleman 

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