William Penn Airs it Out to Defeat Evangel

William Penn University Athletics

William Penn University Athletics

by Wade Steinlage

Ozark, Mo.–Going way off script, the Statesmen football team racked up some solid passing numbers and held off Evangel 25-20 in a Heart of America Athletic Conference North-South Crossover game Saturday.

William Penn (3-2) is known for a potent ground game, but recorded a few long completions on its way to 218 passing yards; the visitors outgained their hosts 407-276.

The 218 yards are the most for the program since posting 243 against MidAmerica Nazarene on September 5, 2015. Prior to that contest, the two best passing games were:
–218 vs. Quincy on September 19, 2009
–313 vs. St. Francis (Ill.) on October 13, 2007

The Statesmen entered the contest averaging just 70.3 passing yards, but went right at the Crusaders (2-3) with Tyler Wood (So., Newton, Iowa, Education) finding Hunter Anfinsen (Jr., Farmington, Utah, Undecided) for 55 yards on WPU’s first offensive play.

Grant Smallwood (Jr., Wichita, Kan., Exercise Science) then crossed the goal line from two yards outs on the next snap and it was 6-0 (extra point blocked) just 4:29 into the afternoon. That PAT was a point WPU tried to chase down all day, but unfortunately to no avail.

William Penn’s defense has been outstanding thus far in 2017 and Saturday was no different. The crew limited the Crusaders on their first two drives and then came up with a score of its own on the third drive as Winston Green (Sr., Sacramento, Calif., Psychology & Sociology) stripped the pigskin from the EU ball carrier. Anthony Jackson (Jr., Detroit, Mich., Physical Education) was ‘Johnny on the Spot’, picking up the ball and darting 48 yards to paydirt to make it 13-0 at the 3:50 mark of the first quarter.

Unfortunately, the tides quickly turned in favor of Evangel as it scored on the first play of the second stanza. The Crusaders then captured the lead a few minutes later with their own fumble recovery touchdown.

Suddenly down 14-13, the Statesmen did not waver from their unconventional game plan, but found little success early on in their next drive. That was until punter Aaron Allen (Sr., Bolivar, Mo., Secondary Education) linked up with Mason Wisse (Sr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Physical Education) for a 46-yard pass on a fourth-down-and-nine faked punt attempt.

The completion moved the ball to the Evangel three-yard line, and on the next play, Amos Johnson (Sr., Rock Island, Ill., Mechanical Engineering) pounded it in for a 19-14 Statesmen advantage (PAT missed).

The hosts drew to within two late in the half on a field goal and the 19-17 score stood until the midway point of the third period.

William Penn fumbled on the opening drive of the third, but did not falter on its following possession. Wood launched a bomb down the turf and Jeremiah Benson (So., Kansas City, Mo., Physical Education) got under it for a 74-yard score. Wood finished 6-for-11 for 172 yards, while Benson caught three balls for 105 yards.

As aforementioned, WPU missed on two extra-point tries, so it was looking to get them back, but Wood could not locate Jackson on a two-point attempt and the margin remained eight at 25-17.

Jake Baptiste (Sr., Salt Lake City, Utah, Psychology) then kept his team in control as he recovered a fumble in Statesmen territory and the lead remained 25-17 entering the final quarter.

The navy and gold pushed the ball into the redzone on their ensuing drive, but stalled out. They also moved into EU territory one drive later, but again nothing came of it. The silver lining of those two drives is that they milked valuable time off the clock, time that the Crusaders desperately needed.

Evangel’s last-ditch effort resulted in a field goal, trimming the Statesmen edge to 25-20 with 4:10 to go.

Needing to salt the game away, WPU went back to their bread and butter picked up two first downs on the ground to secure the win.

Johnson headlined his team’s 189-yard rushing day with 19 attempts for 86 yards. Nate Van Veldhuizen (Jr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Mechanical Engineering) was next with 26 yards, while Carl Sivels (Sr., Washington, Iowa, Physical Education) tacked on 23 more.

WPU’s 407 yards are a season high.

The defensive unit was led by Wisse with nine tackles. The Statesmen not only limited the Crusaders to 27 rushing yards on 22 attempts, but also sacked the quarterback four times, including Resean Coleman (So., River Rouge, Mich., Exercise Science) with a pair. Wisse and Trevon Jones (So., Houston, Texas, Physical Education) also had a sack.

“This was a great win on the road against a very good Evangel team,” Head Coach Todd Hafner said. “Our guys were very resilient and showed a great deal of toughness today. We got off to a great start and did an outstanding job of finishing the game on both offense and defense.”

“We are looking forward to a great Homecoming game with a great crowd next Saturday,” Hafner added.

Next Up: William Penn returns to Oskaloosa next Saturday to host Heart South foe Avila for Homecoming. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.

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Posted by on Sep 24 2017. Filed under College Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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