Turnovers plague Wesley in 49-28 loss to Brockport State

Wesley defensive end Isaiah Ingram chases Brockport State QB Joe Germinerio in Saturday’s playoff game. (Wesley sports information photo)

BROCKPORT, N.Y. — The Wesley College football team had every reason to feel pretty good at halftime on Saturday.

The Wolverines had just scored a pair of quick touchdowns to tie Brockport State in their NCAA Division III second-round playoff game.

And the Wolverines have been a second-half team all season.

But a disastrous start to the second half changed everything as the No. 10 Golden Eagles ran away to a 49-28 victory over No. 13 Wesley at Eunice Shriver Stadium.

The loss ended a 10-game winning streak for the Wolverines (10-2) and marked just the third time in their current 13-year playoff run that they failed to reach at least the third round. Brockport State (12-0) will face Delaware Valley next Saturday.

With the contest tied 21-21 at halftime, the Golden Eagles started the third quarter with a 10-play, 71-yard scoring drive to take the lead for good.

Brockport then quickly followed by scoring defensive touchdowns, returning an intercepted screen pass 15 yards for one TD and a fumble 15 yards for another as its lead suddenly ballooned to 42-21 with 8:41 still remaining in the third quarter.

The two defensive touchdowns came just 1:15 apart.

“Turnovers will kill you,” said Wesley coach Mike Drass. “The way we did it today — I really hate to say it it — but it took the life out of us.

“I really feel like our guys played hard but we didn’t execute well enough to win a game.”

Wesley did have a chance to get back in the game in the second half.

A one-yard scoring run by quarterback Khaaliq Burroughs capped a 65-yard scoring drive that pulled the Wolverines within 42-28 with 5:55 still left in the third quarter. A three-and-out and a 20-yard punt return from Corterris Simpson set up Wesley at the Brockport 45.

But a fumble ended that drive at the 42 as the Wolverines never got any closer.

It was a rough second half for Burroughs, who turned the ball over five times in the last two quarters with two fumbles and three interceptions.

The contest started much better for Burroughs, who found receiver Alex Kemp (Caesar Rodney) for an 82-yard scoring pass on the third play from scrimmage. Kemp caught three passes for 92 yards.

Brockport eventually took a 21-7 lead before Wesley rallied for two TDs in the last four minutes of the second quarter. The second touchdown was set up by a strip sack from linebacker Mike Sabino (Lake Forest) at the Golden Eagles’ two.

E.J. Lee’s two-yard scoring run evened the score at 21-21 with 2:55 remaining before intermission.

Lee finished with 82 yards on 13 carries — the first time the sophomore was held under 100 yards this season. But it also came against a Brockport defense that was No. 1 in Division III at only 24 yards per game on the ground.

Burroughs, who had a pair of short TD runs, completed 16-of-35 passes for 233 yards.

Brockport, which outgained Wesley 387 yards to 341, was led by quarterback Joe Germinerio, who was 30-of-38 for 292 yards with three TDs. The Golden Eagles turned the ball over only twice compared to the Wolverines’ five turnovers on the rainy afternoon.

Drass was impressed with Brockport and Germinerio both before and after the game.

“I think they can be a final four team,” he said.

The loss was reminiscent of Wesley’s only other loss, a 24-19 setback to Delaware Valley in its season opener. The Wolverines turned the ball over three times in that game, including a fumble that was returned 70 yards for a touchdown.

All things considered, though, Drass couldn’t complain about Wesley’s season, though. The Wolverines went 9-0 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference along with reaching at least the second round of the NCAAs for the 13th straight year.

“We walked off the field proud of what our seniors accomplished and excited for the future — because we’re a young team,” said Drass.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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