William Penn Evens Record with 21-10 Road Win Against Taylor
Upland, Ind.–A battered and bruised Statesmen football team rallied after an abysmal first half to defeat Taylor 21-10 in a Mid-States Football Association crossover game Saturday.
In its longest trip of the season, #20 William Penn (2-2) found a way to overcome one of the worst halves in some time to knock off a solid Trojan squad (2-2). The Statesmen were outgained 209-36 at the break, but were fortunate to trail just 10-7.
A monumental special teams play actually got the visitors on the board first when, on the first play of the second stanza, Nick DiMarco (Jr., St. Charles, Mo., Physical Education) broke through and blocked a 21-yard field goal try by Alec Eickert. He then scooped up the pigskin and returned it 89 yards for the score. It is the second week in a row that the defensive end has returned a ball for a touchdown.
DiMarco accompanied his touchdown with five tackles and one sack.
Taylor then scored on its next two possessions to go into the locker room up 10-7.
Marcus Kerrigan (Sr., Cary, Ill., Sociology) had a chance to tie the game twice with lengthy field goals before and after intermission, but neither split the uprights.
Instead, the navy and gold took the lead back the old-fashioned way when Shawn Davis (Sr., Hamersville, Ohio, Physical Education) plunged in from one yard out to make it 14-10 with 4:32 left in the third quarter. The score was set up by a 52-yard rush from starting quarterback Tyler Hafner (So., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Undecided). It was a bittersweet play for Hafner, however, as he reinjured his shoulder and did not return.
Hunter Collins (So, Jenks, Okla., Undecided) replaced Hafner for the second-straight week and pushed the advantage to double digits on the squad’s next possession. His one-yard dive on only the third play of the fourth quarter would cap the game’s scoring.
In a true Tale of Two Halves, the Statesmen owned the second part of the contest with a 247-24 edge in yardage, including only permitting five Taylor yards in the third quarter. WPU held the ball for nearly 21 of the 30 minutes after halftime.
Davis was the best example of William Penn’s second-half turnaround as he netted 115 of his 126 rushing yards in the latter two quarters. The Statesmen picked up 255 of its 283 yards on the ground, including 55 more from Sam Tvedt (Jr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Business Management). Hafner added 34 rushing yards and 21 yards through the air on 3-of-7 passing.
Isaac Samek (So., Bolivar, Mo., Industrial Technology) and Micheal Welch (Sr., Houston, Texas, Physical Education) topped the defense with six tackles each. Samek recorded the team’s first interception of 2013 (WPU had 19 last year) on the final defensive play of the afternoon.
“For the first time in a long time, I did not know what to say when we went into halftime,” Head Coach Todd Hafner said. “It was a frustrating first half for a lot of reasons. Sometimes you have to scream and yell to motivate, but sometimes you just have to beg them to play better and that is what we did.”
“We just asked the guys to play like the team we know they are, and fortunately, our guys turned it around,” Hafner added. “We are really banged up right now, but we are going to have to find ways to win and this was just an example of that.”
Next: William Penn returns to Oskaloosa next Saturday to host #11 St. Ambrose for Homecoming. The game, which begins at 1:30 p.m., will also be the Midwest League openers for both programs.