/seasons/2010/contrib/20101030h9wyyg

Wesley Rallies for ACFC Title

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Courtesy of Wesley Athletics

SALISBRURY, Md. - A 27-yard fade to Ellis Krout (Dallas, Texas/Roosevelt) midway through the first quarter lifted No. 3 Wesley to a 17-14 win at Salisbury in the Route 13 Rivalry.

The win gave Wesley (8-0, 3-0 ACFC) its sixth straight Atlantic Central Football Conference Championship in what will be the conference's final year.  It was also the Wolverines' 19th straight win in conference play.

"The Atlantic Central Football Conference has always been special to Wesley College," said head coach Mike Drass. "As someone who has coached in the conference since its inception, it is very special to have the last championship with us."

The Wolverines entered the game with the No. 1 defense in Division III squaring off with Salisbury's (6-2, 1-1 ACFC) offense, ranked fifth.  It was the Wesley defense that ruled the day, however, holding a Sea Gull offense averaging over 500 yards per game to just 188.  The Wolverines also limited Salisbury's second ranked rush offense that averaged 442 yards per game to just 164.

"It was a great win," Drass noted.  "Both teams played hard, but we were able to come back and get the win.  We had to adjust to their counter option and load option, but made the necessary adjustments.  They average about 450 yards rushing, but we kept them in check for most of the day."

The game did not start out as the defensive struggle it turned into.  Jeremiah Howe (Cambridge, Md./Cambridge South) returned the opening kick 41 yards into Salisbury territory.  Justin Sottilare (Columbia, Md./Oakland Mills) then hit Krout for 33 yards on the game's first play from scrimmage.  After an 18-yard run by Brandon Wright (Clayton, N.J./Clayton), Chris Cummings (Newark, Del./Newark) plunged in for a one-yard score less than two minutes into the contest.

The Sea Gulls answered immediately with a 10-play, 84-yard drive to tie the score.  Brandon Norwood had a 49-yard run on the series and later scored on a three-yard run.  After Paul Moore intercepted Wesley on the next possession, Bryan Woolson scored on a run of 29 yards for a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

That was about all the offense Wesley would allow, however.  After Salisbury piled up 124 rushing yards in the opening quarter, the Wolverines surrendered just 40 more yards on 36 carries in the final 45 minutes - an average of just over one yard per carry.

"We really just had to make a couple detail adjustments," senior Aaron Benson (Swarthmore, Pa./Strath Haven) said after the game.  "That's how it is against the option, if you miss the details, they'll make a big play.  We didn't play bad in the first quarter, we just needed to pay attention to the details."

In the second quarter, Chris Mayes (Waldorf, Md./Westlake) stopped an 11-play drive for Salisbury when he forced quarterback Dan Griffin to fumble and returned it to the Sea Gull 46.  Two penalties helped keep the drive alive for Wesley before the Wolverines pulled to within 14-10 on a 20-yard field goal by Dan Tryon (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum).

Later in the period, Marcus Wilson (Pennsauken, N.J./Camden Catholic) intercepted Griffin, but the Wesley threat was ended by a pick by Ricky Cassidy on the next play.

Wesley fumbled a punt in the fourth quarter, but Benson was there to fall on the football and keep possession for the Wolverines.  Then, a Wesley offense that was quiet most of the afternoon came to life.  The Wolverines reeled off five plays of at least 10 yards on the series, including each of the last four snaps culminating in Krout's 27-yard score with 8:44 left.

Mayes sacked Griffin on third down to force a Sea Gull punt and Wesley managed to run the clock down to just 1:35 before punting themselves.  Benson sealed the victory with an interception on first down.

Wesley stymied the duo of Griffin and Randal Smedley all day.  The two combined for 1,947 yards entering the game and over eight yards per carry, but the Wolverines held them to a combined 17 yards on 35 carries.

Mayes finished the day with seven tackles, four for loss, a sack and a forced fumble.  Mike Asiedu (Yonkers, N.Y./Gorton) had a game-high 10 stops. 

Wright, who missed most of the first half after getting injured on the opening drive, returned to lead all players with 79 rushing yards on 13 carries.  61 of his rush yards came in the second half.

Sottilare went just 11-for-30 passing on the day and was picked off twice, but bounced back to complete five of his last seven including the game-winning score.  Krout caught four passes for 97 yards.  Six other players had at least one reception.

The Wolverines are idle before hosting Kean on November 13 at Scott D. Miller Stadium.

Sep. 13: All times Eastern
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Coast Guard 24, at Nichols 23
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Western New England 56, at Westfield State 35
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at Massachusetts Maritime 31, SUNY-Maritime 14
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Becker 12, at Worcester State 10
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William Paterson 28, at FDU-Florham 23
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at Lawrence Tech 34, Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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Montclair State 28, at Salve Regina 11
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at Springfield 21, Kean 14
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at St. John Fisher 35, Bridgewater State 28
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Shenandoah 35, at N.C. Wesleyan 19
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Cortland 31, at TCNJ 7
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at Franklin Pierce 29, Curry 27
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University of New England 35, at Alvernia 28
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Ferrum 55, at Greensboro 7
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Hamilton 37, at Bowdoin 24
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Union 54, at Anna Maria 7
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Wittenberg 36, at Hiram 12
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at Wesleyan 30, Colby 10
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at Hanover 49, Adrian 28
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Guilford 19, at Methodist 14
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Hobart 38, at Morrisville State 24
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Ripon 45, at Finlandia 12
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Washington and Jefferson 59, at Thiel 0
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at Westminster (Pa.) 45, Waynesburg 21
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Wesley 24, at Delaware Valley 18
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at Alfred 15, George Fox 14
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at Wilkes 30, Lebanon Valley 24
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McDaniel 13, at Moravian 10
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Muhlenberg 38, at Dickinson 9
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Ursinus 48, at Gettysburg 10
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at Washington and Lee 42, Sewanee 7
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UW-Whitewater 20, at Concordia-Moorhead 10
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at St. Scholastica 41, Presentation 13
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Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 30, at Northwestern (Minn.) 7
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at Tufts 14, Trinity (Conn.) 8
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Ohio Northern 39, at Muskingum 10
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at Hope 80, Defiance 6
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Trine 35, at Bluffton 20
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at Heidelberg 35, Wilmington 10
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at Middlebury 17, Williams 13
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Linfield 35, at Rowan 14
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Baldwin Wallace 45, at Otterbein 28
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Ohio Wesleyan 42, at Kenyon 0
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at Fitchburg State 12, Castleton 10
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at Central 45, DePauw 19
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Millsaps 35, at Westminster (Mo.) 10
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Olivet 54, at Concordia-Chicago 24
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Carleton 20, at Lawrence 10
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at St. Norbert 27, UW-Eau Claire 21
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at Crown 23, Beloit 6
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Aurora 48, at Elmhurst 22
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Howard Payne 56, at McMurry 37
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at Knox 44, Iowa Wesleyan 0
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Gustavus Adolphus 41, at UW-Stout 31
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St. Olaf 33, at Luther 20
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at La Verne 43, Willamette 33
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at Pomona-Pitzer 20, Lewis and Clark 0
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at Pacific Lutheran 17, Cal Lutheran 10
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Hartwick 30, at Alfred State 20
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Alma 35, at Manchester 7
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Randolph-Macon 30, at Averett 27
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Albion 48, at Franklin 26
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at Berry 34, LaGrange 9
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at Anderson 27, Cincinnati Christian 23
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Hampden-Sydney 27, at Christopher Newport 24
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Carnegie Mellon 31, at Geneva 6
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Marietta 44, at Capital 7
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Bridgewater 37, at Stevenson 22
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at Centre 27, Maryville (Tenn.) 22
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at Grove City 26, Bethany 15
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Hendrix 26, at Texas Lutheran 23
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Valley City State 67, at Minnesota-Morris 7
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Rose-Hulman 30, at Rhodes 0
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Hamline 31, at Macalester 27
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Sep. 15: All times Eastern
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Cornell at Coe
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Delaware Valley 37, at Kean 7
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at RPI 52, Allegheny 14
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North Central (Ill.) 43, at Christopher Newport 13
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Wesley 69, at Franklin Pierce 0
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at Muhlenberg 45, TCNJ 26
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Ithaca 66, at St. Vincent 28
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at John Carroll 21, UW-Stevens Point 7
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Centre 45, at Hanover 31
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Berry 31, at Maryville (Tenn.) 10
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at Bethel 42, Simpson 10
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Wheaton (Ill.) 38, at Monmouth 0
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St. John's 14, at UW-Stout 7
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at UW-La Crosse 21, Concordia-Moorhead 14
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Whitworth 50, at La Verne 24
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at St. Thomas 69, Trinity International 3
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at UW-Whitewater 42, Dubuque 7
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Mount Union 66, at Rose-Hulman 14
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Hardin-Simmons 64, at Sul Ross State 0
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