Wesley Football Notebook: Lowery making fast progress for Wolverines

 

DOVER — This was a huge moment in the game.

Already leading by seven points with just over two minutes left, a field goal would sew up Delaware Valley’s football victory over Wesley College last Friday night.

DaJahn Lowery

DaJahn Lowery

And it was a chip-shot kick, with the Rams sitting on the Wolverines’ one-yard line.

But Wesley cornerback DaJahn Lowery, who was rushing on the play, wasn’t conceding anything.

“I told my teammates, ‘Just do your job and I guarantee I’m going to get there,’” said Lowery. “It was a do-or-die moment. We just had to step up and make it happen.”

The Wolverines’ linemen opened up a hole for him and, sure enough, Lowery reached out and got just enough of the 18-yard field goal attempt to send it wide of the right upright.

Unfortunately for Wesley, that’s where the comeback story ended. The Rams stopped the Wolverines on a midfield turnover to hold on for the 21-14 season-opening victory.

Still, it was a big moment for Lowery, one of several up-and-coming players stepping into a starting role for the Wolverines (0-1), who host Frostburg State (1-0) on Saturday at 1 p.m. in their New Jersey Athletic Conference opener.

A junior who’s also a national-caliber sprinter, Lowery actually started playing more at the end of last season. Coach Mike Drass said he’s just gotten better from there.

“He’s playing great,” said Drass. “He’s one of the fastest kids in the country. “Toward the end of last year, he became our best cover corner. He played great in the playoffs — just real comfortable. And now he has more of an understanding of the defense. He made some great plays.

“He’s playing at an extremely high level. We need some of the other guys in the secondary to get comfortable, like he is right now.”

Last spring, Lowery ran on Wesley’s NCAA Division III national championship 400-meter relay team. The foursome, which also included De’Vaughn Trader, Anthony Simpson and Greg Taylor, ran the second-fastest time in Division III history, crossing the line in 40.1 seconds.

Lowery has been clocked at 10.6 seconds in the 100. That kind of speed comes in handy on the football field where Lowery broke up six passes and collected 51 tackles last fall.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder says he’s more focused now that he’s a full-time starter.

“I’m taking a lot of things more seriously,” said Lowery. “I stayed (in Dover) over this past summer to work out the whole summer and be ready for this season.”

Opening the season with a loss wasn’t the way any of the Wolverines planned it while they were conditioning this summer.

Now they just have to work even harder if they want to get back on track.

“We’ve got to work extra hard now since we took the loss,” said Lowery. “That one loss hurt us pretty bad.

“I feel like everybody is stepping it up and everything is taken more seriously. You can tell in people’s attitudes. The whole atmosphere is different. We don’t play around as much.”

Kesack’s turn to start

Wesley again plans to play both Dan Kesack and Nick Falkenberg at quarterback on Saturday.

This time, though, Kesack will get the start.

Kesack completed 15-of-24 passes for 135 yards with a touchdown and an interception while alternating with Falkenberg last week. He also ran for 27 yards on seven carries.

Falkenberg, who started, was 12-for-22 for 116 yards with three interceptions. He ran for 19 yards on three carries.

Both QBs are juniors and first-time starters.

“They both didn’t perform well enough for the team to win,” said Drass. “They’re both better than what they showed. We believe that 100 percent.”

Letting one slip away

Bryce Shade has helped Wesley win a lot of games in his career.

But the senior receiver wishes he could have a do-over on the Wolverines’ final offensive play in the loss to DelVal.

Shade pulled in a 24-yard pass from Faulkenburg, spun away from a tackler and was heading downfield. But, just as he started to break away, a Ram defender knocked the ball loose and DelVal recovered the fumble to end Wesley’s last real chance at tying the contest.

“Bryce played his backside off — blocking, catching,” said Drass. “He should have had the ball higher and tighter. The guy made a nice play.

“Ten times out of ten I’m going to pick to put the ball in Bryce Shade’s hands. No one felt worse about that than him. I know he can’t wait to get back on the field.”

The fumble was one of five turnovers in the game for the Wolverines, who didn’t have any takeaways.

Extra points

Wesley dropped 10 spots to No. 17 in this week’s D3football.com poll after Friday’s loss. Delaware Valley, on the other hand, climbed 11 places to No. 14. … Frostburg was picked third in the NJAC preseason poll behind only Salisbury and Wesley. … Despite losing the game, the Wolverines had 25 first downs to 17 for the Rams.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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