Wesley survives turnovers, penalties to defeat Kean 27-13

Wolverine defenders Jay Holmes (left) and Wil Scott catch Kean’s Jessey Asare behind the line of scrimmage for a safety to put Wesley up 2-0 in the first half. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

DOVER — Chip Knapp would rather win ugly than not win at all.

That’s what Wesley College football did on Saturday, overcoming four turnovers and 98 penalty yards.

It added up to a 27-13 victory over Kean as the Wolverines rallied from a halftime deficit. Wesley improved to 8-1 on the season and 5-1 in NJAC play.

“We’re our own worst enemy a lot of times,” said Knapp, Wesley’s head coach. “It’s hard to win a football game when you fumble on the goal-line and throw an interception for a touchdown and have a lot of penalties to keep their drives alive. It adds up to a tough way to win but we did win. So we have to enjoy this but also learn from this.”

Most importantly, the Wolverines kept themselves alive for a possible at-large berth to the Division III NCAA tournament.

Corterris Simpson of Wesley hauls in a short pass for a touchdown against Kean.

They wrap up the regular season at home next Saturday against Christopher Newport (1 p.m.). A win would put Wesley at 9-1 and have them in contention for a Pool C bid.

“If we win next week, which will be a difficult game, we’ll be in a great position to be selected for the playoffs,” Knapp said. “It’s not a given but we like where we are. We do feel as a team that we have to improve. We’re not hitting on all cylinders right now and hopefully that will happen next week.”

Wesley’s Marcellus Pack is stopped after a short gain by Kean linebacker Dante Capozzoli.

Dover High grad Marcellus Pack led the Wolverines on Saturday. Pack scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half while recording 170 rushing yards on 27 carries.

Pack scored the go-ahead touchdown on a six-yard rush with 53 seconds remaining in the third quarter. It gave Wesley a 20-13 advantage after a two-point conversion on a pass by David Marrocco to Chuck Simpson.

The Wesley defense did the rest, shutting out Kean in the second half. Marcus Gaspard clinched the victory with an interception deep in Wesley territory with 1:35 remaining.

Wesley’s Shymere Vessels trying to stop Kean’s Tyrae Taylor in the 2nd quarter Saturday.

Mike Brewer (Woodbridge High) also had an interception for Wesley. Tommy Tanner paced the defense with eight tackles while Dante Daniel had seven tackles including a pair of sacks.

“We eliminated all the mistakes we made in the first half,” Daniel said of the defense. “That helped us out a lot. It’s amazing to see our athletes do the best they can to make sure we can win. Every football game isn’t easy to win but we’ll always do the best we can to make sure we can get through it.”

Pack made sure Wesley’s lead would hold up when he ripped off an 87-yard touchdown run two plays after Gaspard’s interception.

“Marcellus is a touchdown waiting to happen,” Knapp said. “If the defense makes a mistake or we block it right, he’s going to score.”

Marrocco came off the bench to throw 151 yards on 13-of-26 attempts with a touchdown and an interception. He replaced Jon Mullin at quarterback in the second quarterback as Mullin threw for 61 yards (7-of-15) with two interceptions.

Wesley wide receiver Mike Credle unable to get to a long pass covered by Kean’s Myles Toppin.

One of those interceptions resulted in Kean’s Kyeon Taylor taking it 33 yards to the end zone for a 6-0 Kean lead in the first quarter. Wesley also fumbled on Kean’s two-yard line in the first quarter.

The Wolverines were able to turn that into points as Will Scott and Tanner led a charge to tackle Kean in the end zone for a safety.

Wesley’s defense allowed just one touchdown and held Kean to 223 yards of total offense.

“Our defense has been doing that all year,” Knapp said. “We need them to play well when the offense is out of sync. Every time that situation has happened, the defense has come up big.”

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