Wesley tops Montclair for 5th straight win

DOVER — Alex Kemp has developed into a pretty good wide receiver at Wesley College.

But before that, Kemp was a standout quarterback at Caesar Rodney High.

Kemp returned to his roots on Saturday as the Wesley coaching staff elected to play him at quarterback for a few drives.

Kemp scored a rushing touchdown as part of 31 unanswered points by the Wolverines, who downed Montclair State 37-14 in a New Jersey Athletic Conference contest. It was the fifth straight victory for Wesley.

“It felt different being back there and all,” Kemp said. “They wanted to put me back there and see what I can do. It was Coach (Chip) Knapp’s idea (Wesley’s offensive coordinator). They’ve always been talking about putting in like a Wildcat package and this week they decided to try it. I think we had some success out of it.”

Delaware State News photos/Marc Clery

With the win, the Wolverines remained in a three-way tie for first place in the NJAC with Frostburg State and Salisbury at 6-1 in the conference. Wesley (6-2 overall) travels to Salisbury next Saturday for a noon showdown which could decide the conference title.

“I’m very happy that we’re able to lose two games and still be able to have a chance to win the conference,” said senior Andre Connally, who returned an interception for a touchdown.

Kemp moved over from wide receiver to quarterback for Wesley’s final drive of the third quarter. The Wolverines marched down the field running mostly read-options between Kemp and running back Jamar Baynard.

The drive took four plays and covered 40 yards and was capped off when Kemp rushed around the edge for a 6-yard touchdown He took a hit from a Montclair State defender but stayed on his feet and was able to dive into the end zone.

Wesley coach Mike Drass said Kemp at quarterback is something the Wolverines have been working on a lot in practice.

“That gave them a change of pace that they weren’t ready for,” Drass said. “He might have the best arm of anyone on the team and he was a great quarterback in high school. We just thought here’s an opportunity for a kid who runs a 4.5 (40-yard dash), to have him run the football and have him throw.”

Kemp also caught six passes for 86 yards when he lined up at wide receiver.

Nick Falkenberg started at QB for Wesley for the first time since the season opener. Falkenberg threw for a pair of touchdowns and 267 yards on 20-of-37 passing with two interceptions.

Falkenberg gave Wesley the lead for good with a 3-yard pass to Dover High product Xavier Allen, who pulled down a jumpball over his defender on a fade route. Falkenberg also connected with Bryce Shade in the first half for a 38-yard touchdown after the Wolverines settled for a pair of field goals on their first two red zone trips.

“I thought Nick did a good job,” Drass said. “I think his stats would have looked better if we maintained a solid running game. That’s a compliment to Montclair, they did a good job against us.”

Shade led Wesley with 150 receiving yards on eight catches.

The Wesley defense held Montclair State scoreless in the second half and also recorded four interceptions. Connally sealed it for the Wolverines when he jumped an out route and scampered 58 yards for a touchdown.

“I was just running trying not to get caught,” Connally said. “I almost stepped out but I kept my balance.”

Samer Manna, Ben Robinson and Dajahn Lowrey had the other interceptions for the Wolverines.

“Our defense played a great game,” Kemp said. “At the beginning of the game we were kind of going back and forth, we were having trouble moving the ball. Our defense made some big plays for us and the offense found some momentum and we just took over.”

Extra points

Connally’s touchdown was Wesley’s first interception returned for a touchdown since Craig Pettit against Southern Virginia Oct. 5, 2015. … Freshman kicker Nick Bruhn booted a 44-yard field goal in the second half. That is only two yards off of the school record — Dan Tryon’s 46-yarder in 2010. Bruhn’s effort was the first made field goal of more than 40 yards for Wesley since 2014. “He can drill it,” Drass said. “We knew with the wind at his back, I would have tried it from 50 yards out.” … Manna paced the Wesley defense with 12 tackles. … Lake Forest grad Mike Sabino forced a fumble and had four tackles, including one for a loss. … Nasir Fields blocked a Montclair State 40-yard field goal attempt.

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