DOVER, Del. – The Wesley College football team continued their string of success in the NCAA Tournament by opening their 2015 postseason campaign with a 42-22 victory over Framingham State University in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament at Drass Field on Saturday afternoon.
Joe Callahan completed 32-of-42 passes for 411 yards and four touchdowns as the Wolverines advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. The senior quarterback hooked up with Alex Kemp for three touchdowns and hit Bryce Shade for a score as well. Callahan completed 76.2% of his passes helping the Wolverines move efficiently down the field for 42 points.
Alex Kemp led the Wesley receiving corps with 143 yards and three touchdowns on six catches. James Okike pulled in nine catches for 116 yards and Bryce Shade snagged 10 receptions for 107 yards and a score. Xavier Allen also pulled in three catches for 35 yards. Jamar Baynard rushed the ball 20 times for 72 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Wolverines earned their 10th straight trip to the NCAA Second Round.
Samer Manna led the Wesley defense with 13 total tackles. The middle linebacker also had a forced fumble and knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage. Dan Laguerre led the pass rush with three sacks on the day, including a pair of crucial sacks in the second half. Roderick Caine and Brenton Barnes each split a sack with Manna as well.Craig Pettit intercepted the Rams’ quarterback on the goal line and danced his way to a 33-yard return for the Wolverines’ only forced turnover. Eric Speidel went a perfect 6-for-6 on extra points and ripped a kickoff for a touchback as well.
The Wolverines were the first to get on the board after they forced the Rams to punt on their first drive. Callahan and the offense drove 91 yards on 18 plays for a touchdown to put the home team ahead 7-0 in the first quarter. Baynard finished off the long drive with a 1-yard run for a score.
Framingham answered on their next possession with a long drive of their own. The Rams moved 73 yards on 11 plays and capped it with an 18-yard completion from Matt Silva to Jared Gauthier for the tying score.
The game remained tied at 7-7 until midway through the second quarter when Callahan found Kemp for their first touchdown connection of the day. From 14 yards out, Callahan hit the freshman on a tunnel screen. Kemp dodged a pair of tacklers and followed some solid blocking from his Wesley teammates to find the end zone, putting Wesley ahead 14-7.
Just 3:30 later the Rams answered yet again with another score. This time it was the Rams’ running back Jalen Green who punched in the score, rushing from two yards out to finish off another 73-yard scoring drive and tying the game at 14-14.
In the final minute of the second quarter, Wesley took the lead. Joe Callahan ran a fantastic two-minute drill as the Wolverines took the ball 79 yards on 12 plays to score with 23 seconds remaining before halftime. Callahan found Shade on an option pass play for a 6-yard score that gave the team a 21-14 advantage entering the half.
The second half started with a bang as the Wolverines made it clear they were going to take control of the game. Two plays into the frame, Joe Callahan audibled into a pass play that freed up Alex Kemp over the top. The freshman wideout beat the single-man coverage on a fly route and was hit in stride for a 69-yard pitch-and-catch for the score. The touchdown put the Wolverines ahead 28-14 and deflated the FSU sideline.
Later in the quarter, the Rams seemed poised to mount a scoring drive, pushing the ball to the Wesley 26-yard line. On third-and-10, Dan Laguerre came up with a crucial sack sending the Rams back nine yards and out of field goal range to force a punt. Sean Wlasuk kicked an end-over-end punt that was downed on the Wesley 2-yard line. Two plays later, the Rams generated pressure on Callahan and sacked the Wesley quarterback in the end zone for a safety, making it 28-16.
In the fourth quarter, the Wolverines put the game out of reach with a 65-yard scoring drive. Callahan found Kemp for the third time on the day, this time on an 11-yard completion, to take a 35-16 lead.
The Rams came back with a scoring drive of their own, but failed the two-point conversion and trailed 35-22 with 6:55 remaining. From that point on, Wesley milked the clock with runs and short passes, going 80 yards on 12 plays and taking up 5:22 for the game-sealing scoring drive. Jamar Baynard provided the dagger with a four-yard touchdown run, making it 42-22 with less than two minutes remaining. The 20-point advantage held as the final as the Wolverines earned their 10th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament Second Round.
Wesley will return to action on Saturday, November 28 where they will likely travel to Baltimore, Md. to face Johns Hopkins University. The Wolverines have faced the Blue Jays twice, with both encounters coming in the playoffs. Wesley won both games against Johns Hopkins.