Statesmen Crush #9 Bethel (Tenn.) 34-8
McKenzie, Tenn.–It was one of the most dominating victories one might ever witness in a top-25 matchup as the #16 William Penn football team defeated #9 Bethel (Tenn.) 34-8 in non-conference play Saturday.
It was not just the score that was lopsided, but also the stats with the navy and gold outgaining the Wildcats 351-156. Actually, most of BU’s yards came in a non-consequential fourth quarter with the game well in hand. The program’s last two wins, dating back to last November, are against teams ranked #9 in the NAIA (also 17-12 over Grand View).
On a day where temperatures were well into the 90s (kickoff was moved up one hour to accommodate for the heat), William Penn (1-0) took control right away. After a defensive stop on the game’s first drive, the Statesmen march right down the field to make it 7-0. Taylor Parsons (Sr., The Woodlands, Texas, Sociology) found paydirt from five yards out at the 6:22 mark in the first quarter.
The advantage was doubled on the first play of the second stanza when Shawn Davis (Sr., Hamersville, Ohio, Physical Education) scored on a one-yard run.
Evan Ressler (Jr., Cascade, Iowa, Biology) got into the act with 4:10 left in the half on a five-yard rush of his own. The extra point attempt was muffed, leading to the only Wildcat (0-1) points in the first half as Jahron Reynolds returned the ball for two points. William Penn led 20-2 at the break and had 164 yards at the half, while limiting BU to -2 yards.
“It was hot, hot, hot–probably the worst heat we have had in my coaching career,” Head Coach Todd Hafner said. “Our kids were warriors today. We have depth, size, and speed, especially on defense, so we were able to keep everyone fresh. That allowed our defense to be relentless and pursuant.”
Ressler was the offensive hero with 26 rushes for 133 yards, while WPU finished with 292 yards. The running attack led to the squad keeping possession for nearly 2/3 of the afternoon.
The visitors did not slow down after intermission with Davis again plunging in from two yards away midway through the third. Sam Tvedt (Jr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Business Management) put the exclamation point on the win with a 14-yard scamper at the start of the fourth quarter.
“There will be days when we will have to get yards from our quarterbacks and slot backs, but fortunately not today as our fullbacks were so great,” Hafner said. “Our offensive line was so prepared and made it easy for ball carriers.”
Bethel (Tenn.) tallied a meaningless touchdown less than two minutes later.
Davis managed 34 rushing yards and Tvedt added 29. Parsons had success both on the ground (31 yards) and in the air, going 3-for-5 for 59 yards. He hooked up with Chris Crawford (Sr., Muskegon, Mich., Digital Communications) for the game’s longest play, a 47-yard pass play in the first half.
It was a total team effort for the Statesmen defense with Micheal Welch (Sr., Houston, Texas, Physical Education) leading the way with seven tackles. Nick DiMarco (Jr., St. Charles, Mo., Physical Education) had just five stops, but made the most of them with three tackles for loss and two sacks.
“Nick and Micheal were everywhere for us today,” Hafner said. “What a fun day we had. I am proud of our team as we battled through the heat and put together a great performance in all aspects.”
Next: William Penn is off next week, returning to action on September 14, hosting #4 St. Francis (Ind.) in a Mid-States Football Association crossover game. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.