Unbeaten Wesley cruises by Southern Virginia 59-6

Mike Drass

Mike Drass

DOVER — Craig Pettit admits he had the easy part.

After one of Wesley College’s defensive linemen hit Southern Virginia’s quarterback on the throw, all Pettit had to do was pull in the wobbly pass and sprint down the sidelines.

“I saw the ball float in the air and I just went after it,” said the Wolverines’ senior safety. “It felt like it was taking forever. I was nervous I was going to drop it.

“It’s a great feeling. Wide receivers and running backs, they get to touch the ball 24-7. So when you’re a defensive back and you finally get to touch the ball, it’s the greatest thing in the world. You can’t ever forget it.”

Fifty-nine yards later, Pettit had the first touchdown of his collegiate career and the floodgates were officially open in Wesley’s expected 59-6 rout of winless Southern Virginia in a New Jersey Athletic Conference football game on Monday afternoon at Miller Stadium.

The contest had been postponed on Saturday because the Knights (0-3 NJAC, 0-4 overall) weren’t able to travel due to the storm affecting the East Coast.

No matter as the fifth-ranked Wolverines (3-0, 4-0) cruised out to a 42-0 halftime advantage before emptying their bench in the second half.

Wesley quarterback Joe Callahan actually threw a rare interception on the second play of the game. But the senior quickly bounced back to complete 18-of-22 passes for 278 yards with six touchdowns in less than three quarters of playing time.

“Joe is Joe,” said Wolverine coach Mike Drass. “If there’s a better quarterback in the country, I’d like someone to show him to me.”

You’d probably get no argument from James Okike. The junior receiver had four catches for 69 yards on Monday with all four of them going for TDs.

Okike now has nine touchdowns on just 19 receptions this season.

“Callahan is always looking downfield,” said Okike. “So when I’m open, I’m honestly just waiting for the ball to be thrown. I trust him.”

Bryce Shade (5 catches-111 yards) and Alex Kemp (5 catches-70 yards) also pulled in scoring passes from Callahan. Against a young Southern Virginia squad that gave up 91 points to Salisbury in a conference game last week, Wesley finished with 538 yards on Monday while giving up only 143.

The lopsided victory gave the Wolverines a chance to play just about everybody on their sideline.

Backup QB Dan Kesack got in and ran 32 yards for a TD. Nine different Wesley players ran the ball, led by Jamar Baynard with 60 yards on 14 carries.

And 27 players made a tackle, paced by linebacker Samer Manner with 10.

“It’s actually nice seeing the young guys,” said Okike. “I actually like to see what they can do — see who’s up and coming. I love it.”

“It’s always good to see young guys come in and get some reps — see what they can do and make some plays for us,” said Pettit.

After the unusual Monday game, Wesley has to turn right around and play another conference game at the College of New Jersey (0-2, 0-3) on Saturday. The Lions, on the other hand, haven’t played a game since Sept. 19 after having an open date and then having last week’s game against Salisbury cancelled because of the weather.

“It’s like we’re cramming for a test,” said Drass. “We’ve got an exam on Saturday. As a coaching staff, we worked real hard over the weekend preparing for the College of New Jersey. We did our walk-throughs on Saturday and Sunday. Physically, we’ve just got to get their bodies ready to play.”

Extra points

Linebacker Mike Sabino, a Lake Forest High grad, made five tackles in his first start. … Callahan now has 17 TD passes this season against only two interceptions. … Leroy Cheatham and Mujahid Manuel both recovered fumbles. … Tight end Kyle George sat out Monday’s game with an injury but is expected to be available on Saturday.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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