Wesley keeps on a roll with 56-14 victory against Kean

 

DOVER — Mike Drass still doesn’t know if his players grasp the reality of playing in a conference yet.

So the Wesley College coach showed them the New Jersey Athletic Conference football standings on Saturday morning.

“Some of them didn’t know where the conference website was,” Drass joked. “I said, ‘Here’s the conference standings. Look, here are Wesley, Salisbury, Kean, Rowan, Frostburg — all 4-1. Everyone’s right there.’

“We talk about it all the time but they need to see it.”
Apparently the fourth-ranked Wolverines got the message because they then went out and thumped a good Kean squad, 56-14, on Wesley’s homecoming Saturday at Miller Stadium.

Quarterback Joe Callahan threw five touchdown passes to tie the school record with 100 in his career while Bryce Shade caught three of the scoring passes and finished with 198 receiving yards as Wesley (5-0 NJAC, 6-0 overall) remained unbeaten. Only first-year members Wesley and Salisbury (4-0) are still undefeated in the NJAC.

The Wolverines have won their first five league games by an average margin of 37 points.

Callahan, who completed 22-of-32 passes for 363 yards with two interceptions to go along with his five TDs, said being part of a conference takes some getting used to. The Wolverines were the preseason favorite to win the NJAC.

“We just have to understand that we’re going to take the other team’s best shot,” said Callahan. “It’s kind of weird because each game feels like a rivalry and that’s something we’re adjusting to. Last year we were traveling all over the country. Some of the games you didn’t really know much about the opponent.

“Now it’s teams that are all pretty local. You’re going to see a lot of people that you played against when you were younger or you know somebody. It really feels like a rivalry each game.”

Wesley’s older players hadn’t forgotten that the last time the two programs met, in 2011, Kean upset the Wolverines, snapping their 28-game regular-season winning streak.

On Saturday, the Cougars (3-2, 4-2) held Wesley to just seven points in the first quarter. But the Wolverines built a 21-7 advantage by halftime.

Wesley then erupted for 28 unanswered third-quarter points to open up a gaping 49-7 advantage.

A couple big pass plays from Callahan to Shade helped turn the game in the Wolverines’ favor. They hooked up on a 73-yard scoring pass in the second quarter and then on an 80-yarder in the third.

Both times the 5-foot-8 Shade was lined up against a slower defender and simply beat him down the sidelines.

“When they’re that open, you get nervous,” said Callahan. “It’s like that easy play that becomes hard. But it’s fun to watch somebody take the ball and run it down to the end zone for you.”

Shade finished with eight catches. Callahan also threw TD passes to James Okike and tight end Kyle George.

Jamar Baynard also ran for a touchdown, finishing with 64 yards on 20 carries. The Wolverines outgained Kean, 541-217.

Defensively, Drass was concerned about Cougar running back Damian Corredor, who was third in the NJAC at 122 rushing yards per game. On Saturday, though, the Wolverines limited him to 61 yards on 25 carries.

Safety Leroy Cheatham had an interception while linebacker Ben Robinson had a fumble recovery to set up Wesley touchdowns.

“I was just real proud of our defense,” said Drass. “We needed to take that step. In the back of our minds, we kept thinking to ourselves, ‘Man, when are we going to start playing some Wesley football?’ Today was the day we started doing something.”

“Coach Drass talked about it all week,” said senior defensive tackle Brenton Barnes, who had seven tackles. “They’re a really good team. They’re 4-1 coming in. They have something to prove against us.

“We’ve always got a target on our back. We’re going to get guys’ best effort, day in and day out. So we’ve really got to take that to them.”

Extra points

Linebacker Samer Manna had a team-high eight tackles for Wesley. … Backup QB Nick Falkenburg threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Dayshawn Reynolds for the Wolverines’ last touchdown. … For the second straight week, the Wolverines forced a fumble on an interception to get the ball right back. This time it was an offensive tackle Matt Gono who forced the turnover. … Austin Davis had three interceptions for Kean, one of which returned 39 yards for a touchdown. … Wesley hosts Rowan next Saturday at 1 p.m. in another big NJAC game.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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