Around the Region

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...

Read the rest of this column


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 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 


Previous Columns

September 16, 2014
Wesley defense firing on all cylinders
Wesley had a long offseason to dwell on the fact that they gave up 62 points to Mount Union in the...
September 9, 2014
Averett looking for a fresh start
Every team wants to begin the season 1-0. Some teams were desperate for a win to end a long losing...
September 4, 2014
10 games to watch for 2014
Adam Turer returns for another season covering the Centennial, Old Dominion Athletic Conference and...
November 19, 2013
Maryville makes history heading to playoffs
In just two seasons at the helm of the Scots, Mike Rader has done something that hadn’t been...
November 13, 2013
Hampden-Sydney’s defense under the radar
The Tigers are known for high-powered offenses, but as they wound their way through the volatile...
November 6, 2013
Greyhounds grateful for turnaround
Moravian has snapped a 12-game losing streak and rattled off back-to-back wins. Now, it’s...
October 31, 2013
R-MC’s McGhee fits in as needed
Will McGhee has played both sides of the ball – whatever it takes to get more time on the...
October 23, 2013
Centennial cultivates coaching longevity
Gettysburg's Barry Streeter has the longest tenure of any Division III coach, but several others in...
October 16, 2013
LaGrange finds its identity on offense
A transfer under center is helping the Panthers light things up this season in the USA South.
October 10, 2013
Shenandoah defender is the face – and fuel – of program
From coaching changes to conference changes, Shenandoah’s Byron Mitchell has been the...
October 2, 2013
E&H’s top scholar-athlete ‘always goes beyond’
Quarterback Kyle Boden has had a dizzying amount of success in several facets at E&H. “It&...
September 25, 2013
The magic could be back at Juniata
The success that Juniata is seeing this season is stirring up feelings of the teams from the 1970s,...
September 18, 2013
After being shot by a robber, Methodist sophomore lives his second chance
Anything short of returning to the football field was out of the question for LeTovis Davis, who...
September 10, 2013
CNU makes a statement against Salisbury
The Captains had not defeated a ranked opponent since the 2007 season, and some recent lopsided...
September 4, 2013
Games to watch for 2013
Adam Turer is back dishing it out for the mid-Atlantic -- and, at least this once, giving a self...
November 14, 2012
Bahamian gets a kick out of playing football
When the soccer player known as "Boomstick" realized he had one season of eligibility left...
November 7, 2012
Competitive Centennial teams have their ups and downs
Franklin and Marshall has bounced back from a 3-7 campaign last season to being an outside playoff...


Other Columnists