Statesmen Down Bethel (Tenn.) in Season Opener, 52-13
Interview video with Coach Hafner and Sam Tvedt at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsxawbBVVyg&feature=youtu.be
Oskaloosa–The William Penn football team rolled in all facets Saturday in a 52-13 non-conference win over Bethel (Tenn.).
In winning its fifth-straight season opener, WPU (1-0) outgained the Wildcats (0-1) by a margin of 557-181. Of that tally, 448 came on the ground as the navy and gold finished with 7.1 yards per play, including 74 on their first try from scrimmage.
After a quick defensive stop, the run-first, pass-rarely Statesmen went to the play-action and Taylor Parsons (Sr., The Woodlands, Texas, Sociology) lofted a deep pass to new receiver Jatavius Stewart (Jr., Rock Hill, S.C., Biology) who tracked it down and ran away from the opposition for a 74-yard score just 2:21 into the game.
Evan Ressler (Sr., Cascade, Iowa, Biology) finished off an 82-yard drive the next time WPU had possession, barreling in from one yard out. The defense bent a little in BU’s next possession, but showed up when it was necessary. The Wildcats were forced to settle for a 29-yard field goal try, but Keshun Cowan (Sr., Olive Branch, Miss., Physical Education) came around the outside and blocked the attempt to preserve the shutout at that point.
Parsons then extended the advantage to 22-0 (two-point conversion good) at the end of the first quarter with a 48-yard scamper.
After neither side added to the scoreboard tally in the second stanza, the Statesmen flew out of the locker room with scores in each of their first four second-half possessions. Michael Thomas (Sr., Visalia, Calif., Undecided) did the initial damage with an 11-yard run and added another two-yard TD at the start of the fourth quarter. A 20-yard scoring catch from Parsons to Ressler and a 14-yard rush by Sam Tvedt (Sr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Business Management) were sandwiched in between.
Tvedt paced the running game with 176 yards on only ten rushes, highlighted by a long of 47 yards. Thomas added 71 yards, while Parsons managed 65 and Ressler had 42. Parsons also completed three of his seven passes for 109 yards.
The team’s scoring concluded with a gift by the visitors. Bethel, which was stuck deep in its own territory after a Tvedt 48-yard punt, had a snap go over its quarterback’s head and the ball bounced out of the endzone for a safety. The Wildcats tallied two meaningless touchdowns late with one in both the third and fourth quarters.
The home team’s dominance was obvious in time of possession as well with a 36:03-23:57 edge. WPU was also 9-for-16 in third-down conversions, but more impressively 4-for-5 on fourth down.
Defensively, the Statesmen forced seven punts, highlighted by three three-and-outs. BU managed 118 of their yards in their two scoring drives with most of WPU’s starters already out of the contest.
Jake Baptiste (Fr., Salt Lake City, Utah, Psychology) led the defensive unit with nine tackles, while Joseph Frye (Sr., Detroit, Mich., Physical Education) had five stops and three pass breakups. Kevin Shrauger (Jr., Nixa, Mo., Physical Education) also intercepted a pass and Scott Adams (Sr., Park City, Utah, Sociology) had a sack.
Next Up–William Penn travels to Vermillion, S.D. to face NCAA Division II South Dakota at 2 p.m.