BELTON, Texas – The fifth-ranked Wesley College football team fell to No. 2 Mary Hardin-Baylor, 32-20, in the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon at Tiger Field. The Crusaders remain unbeaten at 13-0 and will take on No. 1 Mount Union in the NCAA Semifinals on December 8, while the Wolverines' season comes to an end at 10-2.
After falling behind 9-0, Wesley came back to take a 14-12 lead on a 44-yard touchdown pass to Steve Koudossou and a three-yard run by Askia Jahad. Dan Tryon added a 22-yard field goal and the Wolverines went into halftime with a 17-12 advantage.
Mary Hardin-Baylor missed a field goal on their opening drive of the second half, but after forcing a three-and-out, the Crusaders scored on a 20-yard pass from LiDarral Bailey to Darius Wilson. The Cru then intercepted Justin Sottilare on Wesley's ensuing possession and found the endzone on a two-yard pass to Caleb Moore.
Wesley was able to cut the deficit 25-20 with 8:51 left in the fourth on another field goal by Tryon, which ended a 14 play, 69 yard drive that ate up over seven minutes of clock. The key play of the drvie came on fourth and 14 from the UMHB 25-yard line when Sottilare hit Jeremiah Howe for 18 yards.
Unfortunately, Mary Hardin-Baylor answered right back with a touchdown of their own just over a minute later to take a 12 point lead and that was out it ended for the Wolverines.
In his final game as a Wolverine, Sottilare finished 21-of-43 passing for 253 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception. In his final two seasons in 2010 and 2012, Sottilare threw 71 touchdown passes, which is the most thrown by a Wesley quarterback in any two season span.
Fellow seniors Jahad and Matt Barile finished with 86 rushing and receiving yards, respectively, leading the team.
Koudossou and Howe both finished with five catches, combining for 98 yards.
Bailey had a great day for the Crusaders, completing 16 of 20 passes for 195 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 95 yards on 17 carries. Elijah Hudson finished with 103 yards on an identical 17 carries as UMHB gained 249 yards on the ground.
Special teams also played a major factor in the game as Wesley had a pair of kicks blocked, including a field goal attempt by Tryon just before the end of the first half. The redzone was also unkind to the Wolverines as the Navy & White scored just one touchdown in four opportunities.
Sosthene Kapepula finished with a career-high 18 tackles for the Wolverines which included 2.5 for a loss and a half sack. He also forced a fumble, recovered another and broke up a pass. His 120 tackles this season is the most since Rocky Myers had 124 tackles in 2004, the same year that Myers became the only defensive player in Division III history to win the Gagliardi Trophy.
Derrick Bender and Jordan Wescott also posted double digit tackles while Jeremy Keith and Daniel Laguerre each recorded a TFL.