Nov. 28, 2009

Courtesy of Wesley

DOVER, Del. - Wesley College's Gene Knight (Baltimore, Md./Overlea) had 11 catches for 203 yards as the Wolverine offense scored on its first seven possessions in a 43-9 NCAA Second Round win over Mississippi College.

The Wesley defense held the Choctaws 30 points under their season scoring average and limited Steven Knight, who entered the contest with over 1,300 yards on the year, to just 27 yards rushing. Gagliardi finalist quarterback Adam Shaffer was held to just 16-of-37 passing for 175 yards.

Meanwhile, Shane McSweeny (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem) hit on 20-of-30 passes for 357 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 74 yards and another score.  Ellis Krout (Dallas, Texas/Roosevelt) hauled in three scores on five receptions.

McSweeny went 6-of-8 on the first possession, hitting Krout for an 11-yard score and a 7-0 lead as the Wolverines bled over seven minutes off the game clock with a 15-play march.

Mississippi fired back with a 23-yard run by Steven Knight and three straight completions by Shaffer, including a 22-yard strike to Tarkan Weston and a gain of 29 to Renard Ellis, to move to Wesley's eight.  The Wolverines tightened the defense and the Choctaws had to settle for a 27-yard Brandon Walls field goal and trailed 7-3 with 1:31 left in the period.

Gene Knight had catches of 47, 25 and three yards on the next drive before Aaron Jackson (New Brunswick, N.J./North Brunswick) rushed around the left side for a two-yard score and a 13-3 lead with 11:41 to go in the half.

Sacks by Chris Mayes (Waldorf, Md./Westlake) and Jeff Morgan (Vineland, N.J./Vineland) put a quick end to the Choctaws' next drive and the Wolverines took over at their own 45.   McSweeny and Knight connected again, this time for 39 yards, to move deep into Mississippi territory.  Krout finished the drive again with a 14-yard touchdown, his second of the day.

Both Mayes and Coleman Peteet (Piscataway, N.J./Piscataway) knocked down passes as the Wolverine defense forced a three and out on Mississippi's next possession. It was Krout for a third time in the half, this time scoring on an eight-yard toss by McSweeny and Wesley led 27-3.

After another Choctaw punt, McSweeny hooked up with Knight three more times on passes of five, seven and 38 yards to move Wesley to the Choctaw eight.  After a three-yard pass to Knight, McSweeny kept the ball and went right for the final five yards to give the Wolverines a 34-3 halftime advantage.

On just the second play of the second half, Jackson caught what appeared to be a short pass to the right, but the running back shot back up the middle and turned on the jets for a 71-yard gain down to the Mississippi College 14.  Three plays later, it was Sean McAndrew (Lanoka Harbor, N.J./Lacey Twp.) with a seven yard touchdown catch and a 40-3 lead only 2:37 into the quarter.

On Wesley's next possession, it was Knight with yet another big catch.  This time it covered 43 yards as Wesley jumped all the way to the Choctaw 17 yard line.  The Wolverines did not find the end zone, but Collin Blugis (Odenton, Md./Arundel) booted a 21-yard field goal for a 43-3 lead with just under six minutes to play in the third quarter.

The Mississippi College offense finally clicked in the fourth quarter with a 13-play, 72-yard drive, capped by a one-yard Austin Divinity touchdown run.  Wesley blocked the point after, however, and led 43-9.

The Choctaws appeared headed for another late score, but Aaron Benson (Swarthmore, Pa./Strath Haven) picked off Shaffer at the one yard line with 37 seconds left in the game.

Mike Ward (Norwich, Conn./Norwich Free Academy) led the Wolverines with 11 tackles on the day.  The defensive tackle was involved in a pair of sacks and batted down a pass.

Mayes had two stops in the backfield and batted down three passes in the contest.

Divinity ended up with 65 rushing yards to lead the Choctaws.  Ellis had a solid day receiving with seven catches for 90 yards.

With the win, Wesley will face Johns Hopkins in the NCAA South Region Championship.  The Blue Jays survived with a 43-yard field goal by Alex Lachman as time expired for a 31-29 win over Thomas More.

Notes

    * Wesley will be playing for the South Region Championship for the fourth time in five years.
    * It will be the first ever meeting with Johns Hopkins in football.
    * With three touchdown catches, Krout has 20 on the season, extending his school record.
    * The three touchdowns moved Krout into sole possession of eight place on the career touchdown reception list at Wesley.
    * It tied Wesley's single season touchdown record.
    * Knight had the first 200-yard receiving day for a Wesley player since Larry Beavers had 239 in the 2005 playoff win over Mary Hardin-Baylor.
    * Jackson's rushing touchdown was the 30th of his career.
    * McSweeny topped 50 career touchdown passes in the game.
    * Steven Knight was held to his season-low in rushing yards.
    * Shaffer's 175 yards were his fewest of the year.
    * Ward became just the third player in Wesley history with over 40 career tackles for loss.
    * Collin Blugis became Wesley's career leader in kicking.
    * Mississippi finished the year with nine wins, the most since reaching the NCAA semifinals in 1990 (11-2).
    * Steven Knight's 1,333 yards this year are the fourth best season at MC.
    * Shaffer's 33 touchdown passes this season are a school record.

Quotes

Wesley defensive tackle Mike Ward

    * (On making the South Region Championship) "It's a great challenge.  We can't take Johns Hopkins lightly.  They're a very challenging team after two big wins the last two games.

Wesley safety Aaron Benson

    * (On his interception to seal the game) "It felt good.  They'd hit me with that play a couple times, but I was ready for it that time."
    * (On making the South Region Championship) "We can't slack.  If you do, they'll (John Hopkins) will get you.  We have to rise to the challenge."

Wesley Head Coach Mike Drass

    * (About the offense) "Any time your offense scores on its first seven possessions, you're definitely setting a tone.  Our guys did an outstanding job moving the ball and scoring."
    * (About the defense) "We thought Shaffer was the best quarterback we saw this year.  We just wanted to fill the passing lanes and get pressure with four rushers."
    * (On facing Johns Hopkins) "Johns Hopkins is a great team.  You don't defeat two undefeated teams in the playoffs if you're not great.  We have our work cut out for us."