November 26, 2011

Big-game rallies

More news about: St. John Fisher | Wabash | Wesley
Jeff Bell's touchdown with 52 seconds left and the two-point conversion to follow gave Wabash the 29-28 comeback win against North Central (Ill.).
Wabash athletics photo by Howard Hewitt

When they say Wabash always fights, this is what they have in mind. The Little Giants trailed North Central 21-0 at the half and, without their starting quarterback, rallied to beat the Cardinals 29-28.

The Little Giants scored 22 fourth-quarter points and capped the amazing comeback by converting a two-point conversion with less than a minute to play down by one. Tyler Burke got the call at quarterback in place of injured Chase Belton for Wabash and threw for 311 yards and four touchdowns while completing 24 of 49.

Wabash will travel to Mount Union, which advanced past Centre 30-10. Centre did force the Purple Raiders to three three-and-outs and was within striking distance all afternoon until Jake Simon ran for a 7-yard score to make it a 20-point lead. It's Mount Union's 20th consecutive trip to the national quarterfinals.

Wesley had a big comeback of its own at home against Linfield. The Wildcats led 27-7 at the half and the Wolverines exploded for 42 straight points en route to a 49-34 lead. The teams combined for just under 1,000 yards. Tight end Sean McAndrew caught two second-half touchdowns, as did Steven Koudossou as Linfield got bounced in the second round for a second year in a row.

Kean erased a two-touchdown deficit at Salisbury, but the Sea Gulls prevailed in triple overtime 49-47. The Cougars tied the game at 34 on Darius Kinney's second rushing touchdown of the second half. The teams traded touchdowns in the first extra possesion. Then Salisbury converted a two-point conversion following a Randal Smedley 2-yard touchdown. The Cougars scored on their next possession, but the two-point conversion was no good and the Sea Gulls celebrated. It's Salisbury's first quarterfinals appearance in 25 years.

The St. Thomas defense held Alex Tanney to 227 passing yards and sacked him five times.
Photo by Scott Pierson, d3photography.com

St. John Fisher played without starting quarterback Ryan Kramer but the Cardinals rode the strength of their offensive line and the legs of Cody Miller, who ran for 145 yards in a 27-14 road win. Playing in relief of the injured Kramer, Ahmed Hassenian was 11-for-19 for 93 yards with a rushing touchdown. Delaware Valley outgained St. John Fisher 385-288, but freshman quarterback Aaron Wilmer was intercepted four times.

St. John Fisher will meet St. Thomas in the national quarterfinals after the Tommies got 258 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Colin Tobin in a 38-10 win against Monmouth. The Tommies held Monmouth to 231 total yards, all but four of them through the air.

Levell Coppage ran for 221 yards and three touchdowns as UW-Whitewater beat Franklin for the third time in the Warhawks' past 16 games, 41-14. It's the eighth 200-plus yard game for Coppage, who passed Grove City's R.J. Bowers for second in Division III history with 7,381 rushing yards. He'd need to average 231 yards in the maximum three games remaining to catch Nate Kmic of Mount Union for the all-time rushing lead.

Mary Hardin-Baylor sent McMurry off to Division II football with a 49-20 win, breaking the game open with a 21-point fourth quarter. Jake Mullin returned from injury for the War Hawks and was 34-for-60 passing but threw for just 269 yards and was picked off three times in the loss. Damian Davis caught nine passes for 120 yards in the win for the Cru, while LiDarral Bailey passed for 139 yards and ran for 93 more.

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