Wesley preps for unknown Franklin Pierce

DOVER — It’s not like Wesley College hasn’t faced its share of ‘mystery’ opponents before.

But the Wolverines’ first football opponent this fall — Franklin Pierce — is especially mysterious.

The NCAA Division II Ravens will be playing their first full-fledged football game when they host Wesley on Saturday at noon in Rindge, N.H.

Since 2013, Franklin Pierce has played sprint football — a version of the game where players can’t weigh more than 178 pounds.

“This is probably the most unknown opponent we’ve ever played,” said coach Chip Knapp, who’s starting his 30th season at Wesley.

“There’s a lot of different things. We’re not sure of their schemes. We have no film. If you put that all together, we’ve got to go out there and execute.

“There’s only so many things that people can do on a football field. We’ve made some educated guesses. We’ll go out there just kind of do what we do and apply our schemes to the situation. Hopefully that will work.”

As a Division II program, Franklin Pierce does have scholarship players. Most of the Ravens’ roster is made up of freshmen from New England but they do have a few older transfers from other regions.

One of their freshman is former Smyrna High standout running back Stephen Whaley, who Wesley recruited.

Knapp said the Wolverines will just have to be prepared to make in-game adjustments.

“We’re going to find out in the first quarter is what’s going to happen,” he said. “Then we’ve got to be good coaches on the field. That’s part of our strategy, being prepared to make adjustments.”

Junior David Marrocco is slated to make his first start as Wesley’s quarterback. But Knapp also expects senior Jon Mullin to see some time in the game, as well.

Knapp said he needs to see more of both QBs in game action.

“We’re going to give both these guys the opportunity to play and let it sort itself out,” he said. “Hopefully they both do well and continue to play.”

No matter how the offense performs, Knapp has a great deal of confidence in the Wolverines’ defense. This is their second season under veteran defensive coordinator Joe Bottiglieri.

“There’s not a better coach that I’ve seen than Coach Bottiglieri,” said Knapp. “And Coach Art Smith, our secondary coach, they’ve got those guys ready. I feel confident about that.”

Extra points

Wesley has named six captains for the season. That group includes safety Corray Williams, linebacker Dante Daniels and lineman Shymere Vessels (Woodbridge) on defense with receiver Ruhann Peele, running back E.J. Lee and lineman Josh Hughes on offense. … The Wolverines play a 1 p.m. game at Delaware Valley next Saturday as they don’t play their first home game until Oct. 5.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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