WPU Scores Two Late Touchdowns to Claim First Win of 2019

Baldwin City, Kan.–The Statesmen football team has waited all season to put together a full 60 minutes of good play and finally accomplished that Saturday as it upset #13 Baker 21-18 in Heart of America Athletic Conference North-South Crossover play.

William Penn (1-3) picked up its first win of the campaign by scoring two times in the final six minutes of the afternoon.

The navy and gold, who were outgained by the Wildcats (2-2) by a tally of 355-338, fell behind 7-0 midway through the first quarter, but answered back with a huge special teams play.

After shutting down the BU offense, Jeremiah Benson (Sr., Kansas City, Mo., Physical Education) hauled in a punt at his own 30-yard line and eluded the coverage squad for a 70-yard score. It is the program’s first special teams touchdown of the season and Benson’s second return of his career, having also taking a kickoff back in 2016.

The hosts recaptured the advantage at 10-7 with a field goal late in the half. Weather then entered the area, causing an extended halftime.

Refreshed, WPU opened the second half with a strong drive, moving to the BU 25-yard line before fumbling the ball back to the Wildcats. The visitors turned over the pigskin once more on their next possession, but fortunately Baker was unable to take advantage either time, including missing a field goal late in the third period.

Still trailing 10-7 entering the fourth, William Penn pushed into the Wildcat redzone, but failed to convert on fourth down. Another defensive stop, however, put the ball back into the hands of the Statesmen with 10:32 remaining in regulation.

Starting at its own 38-yard line, WPU established its best drive of the day, recording four first downs as part of an 11-play, 62-yard drive. The possession was capped by a 19-yard scoring pass from Crehan to Adrian Aviles (Jr., Chicago, Ill., Biology) with 5:11 on the clock. Of its 70 plays, Crehan, who was starting in place of injured Tyler Wood (Sr., Newton, Iowa, Sports Management), aired it out just three times with Crehan finishing 2-for-3 for 26 yards.

The Statesmen had not forced a turnover all day, but found the most opportune time to do so, as two plays into the next BU drive, Trey Moore (Fr., Eddyville, Iowa, Business Management) intercepted a pass at his team’s 25-yard line.

Neither side was able to move the ball on their next possessions, including the Wildcats returning the ball back at their own 14-yard line with just 1:58 on the clock.

William Penn collected a first down and could have milked most of the time away, but opted to run a normal play, and Ben Sherman (Fr., Troy, Pa., Elementary Education) found paydirt from three yards out to extend the lead to 21-10 with 49 ticks remaining. Sherman paced the ground game with a game-high 122 yards on 21 carries.

Baker did not go down without a fight, moving quickly down the gridiron and making it 21-18 with four seconds left. The touchdown and conversion were moot, however, as the ensuing onside kick did not travel the required 10 yards downfield and WPU was able to take a knee once for the win.

Sherman’s efforts were complemented by Crehan’s 82 yards and an additional 72 from Tommy Imbu (So., Edmond, Okla., Business Management).

Moore paced the defense, matching Brian Davison (Fr., Goodyear, Ariz., Sports Management) with seven tackles each. Dan Mindermann (Jr., Indianola, Iowa, Digital Communication) and Resean Coleman (Sr., River Rouge, Mich., Exercise Science) both tallied a sack in the victory as well.

“This was a win we needed really badly,” Head Coach Todd Hafner said. “We nearly gave this one away, but today our defense was not going to let it happen. They were awesome!”

“We played tough today,” Hafner added. “It was straight old-school WPU football. Ben Sherman, Tommy Imbu, and Alex Crehan were great, and our offensive line was unbelievable. I am so happy for our players.”

Next Up: William Penn returns to Oskaloosa next Saturday to face Central Methodist in a Heart Crossover game at 6 p.m.

Posted by on Sep 22 2019. 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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