DOVER, DEL. – Wesley College scored two defensive touchdowns in the game's first three minutes and the sixth-ranked Wolverines never looked back in a 56-6 victory over 18th-ranked Cortland in the NCAA Div. III tournament second round.
Wesley improves to 10-1 and will face nationally second-ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) in the national quarterfinals next Saturday. Cortland completes the season with a 9-2 mark. The Red Dragons were making their third NCAA appearance in the last five years and their eighth overall.
Cortland received the game's opening kickoff and on its third play from scrimmage Wesley's Mike Brandenburg intercepted a pass by Chris Rose (Victor) and returned the ball 22 yards for a touchdown just 46 seconds into the contest.
On the Red Dragons' next possession, Rose was sacked on third down by Devin Hardy. Rose fumbled on the play and Sosthene Kapepula returned the ball 28 yards for a touchdown and Wesley led 14-0 with 12:54 left in the first half.
Cortland's points came on two field goals by junior Mike DeBole (Webster/Webster Schroeder). He made a 22-yard attempt in the first quarter to pull the Red Dragons within 14-3 and hit a career-best 38-yarder midway through the second quarter. The latter kick came after Wesley had scored on a Steve Koudossou 3-yard TD run on 4th-and-1 earlier in the quarter.
The Wolverines led 21-6 at halftime, but quickly extended their lead to 28-6 in the third quarter. Following a holding call on the first play from scrimmage in the half, Wesley quarterback Justin Sottilare connected with Koudossou on a 78-yard TD pass.
Wesley took advantage of a fumbled punt snap later in the quarter that set up a 6-yard TD drive capped by Chris Cummings' fourth-down, 1-yard run. Sottilare threw a 23-yard TD pass to Matt Barile in the third quarter and an 8-yard TD pass to Matt Bundy in the fourth quarter, and Devar Robinson completed the scoring with a 34-yard scoring run with 12:57 remaining.
Sottilare finished 8-of-17 passing for 192 yards and three touchdowns and Askia Jahad rushed for 90 yards on 16 carries.
Wesley intercepted Cortland quarterbacks five times. Rose was 14-of-26 passing for 100 yards with four interceptions and sophomore Tyler Hughes (Scranton, PA/West Scranton) finished 3-of-6 for 28 yards with one interception. Junior Justin Autera (Mahopac) ran 23 times for 65 yards. Sophomore Kordel McInnis (Sewell, NJ/Washington Township) caught seven passes for 37 yards and senior Mike Humphrey (Le Roy) made six catches for 59 yards. Humphrey finishes his career ranked fourth at Cortland with 139 receptions, and his 69 catches this season were the second-most at Cortland behind John Babin's (Warwick/Warwick Valley) 72 last fall.
Jared Morris, Terence Gavin and Jordan Wescott each finished with eight tackles for Wesley. Sean Hopkins intercepted two passes, with Wescott, Brandenburg and Payton Rose picking off one pass each.
Sophomore linebacker Tre Spaulding (White Plains/Woodlands) led Cortland with seven tackles. Sophomore cornerback Andrew Tolosi (Monroe/Monroe-Woodbury) and senior defensive end Vaughn Labor (Norwich) recorded six tackles each. Labor also recovered a fumble. Wesley outgained Cortland in total offense, 360-194.
DeBole extended his school single-season record with 16 field goals. He also established a new school mark for points in a season by a kicker with 84 (16 field goals, 36 PAT kicks).