BELTON, Texas – Wesley dominated the first half before Mary Hardin-Baylor stormed back in the second but the comeback fell just short as the Wolverines won 27-24 in an NCAA Division III quarterfinal game Saturday afternoon.

Wesley drove 80 yards in 17 plays on the game’s opening possession and took a 7-0 lead when Shane McSweeny hit Sean McAndrew with a 15-yard touchdown. The drive chewed 9:01 off the clock.

The Cru cut the gap to 7-3 when Chad Peevey drilled a 43-yard field goal with 9:27 left in the first half. McSweeny threw a four-yard scoring pass to Askia Jahad four minutes later to put the Wolverines up 14-3 and added a 78-yard scoring strike to Steven Koudossou with 2:18 left in the first half to make 21-3 Wesley at halftime.

The Cru offense came to life in the second half.

LiDarral Bailey found Damian Davis for a six-yard TD pass to close the gap to 21-10. McSweeny once again had an answer, lofting a 56-yard touchdown pass to Matt Barile to stretch it to 27-10 after UMHB blocked the extra point try.

The Cru then went on a five-play, 55-yard drive on the next possession, capped by Michael Johnson’s one-yard scoring plunge to pull UMHB to within 27-17 before Bailey struck again, this time with a 45-yard pass to Davis to cut it to 27-24 with 5:43 remaining. Wesley attempted to run out the clock, but McSweeny slid one-yard short of a first down and was stuffed on 4th-and-1 to give the ball back to UMHB at the Cru 40 with 2:41 left to play.

The Cru drove to the Wesley 41-yard line, but faced a 4th-and-3. Bailey was hit from behind by Wesley’s Sosthene Kapepula and the pass fell incomplete, ending the UMHB comeback try.

The Cru outgained the Wolverines 393-389 in total offense with 194 of those yards coming on the ground. The Wolverines had 253 passing yards and did not turn the ball over. Wesley picked off three UMHB passes in the game.

Bailey finished 14 of 27 passing for 199 yards and two scores and Davis caught seven passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Darius Wilson ran for 73 yards on 20 carries and Elijah Hudson finished with 60 yards on 10 totes. Javicz Jones led the Cru defense with 16 total tackles.

McSweeny went 15 of 22 through the air for 253 yards and four touchdowns for Wesley and he added 114 rushing yards on 25 carries. Barile caught five passes for 136 yards and a score. Kapepula and Jeff Morgan posted 14 tackles apiece to lead the Wesley defensive effort.