WPU Upsets Rival Vikings, Reclaims Rock and Ladder Trophy

William Penn has the 'Rock and Ladder' trophy and bragging rights for the next year.

William Penn has the ‘Rock and Ladder’ trophy and bragging rights for the next year.

by Wade Steinlage

Oskaloosa–Playing for pride and for its senior class, the Statesmen football team produced its best outing of the year in a 33-14 upset over #6 Grand View in Heart of America Athletic Conference North Division action Saturday.

William Penn (7-4, 3-2 Heart) returned the Rock and Ladder Trophy to Oskaloosa for the first time since 2012 and did so emphatically by beating the Vikings (9-2, 4-1 Heart) in every phase of the game.

It did not look like it would be the home team’s day early on, though, as the navy and gold were turned away on their first possession. GVU then quickly went ahead 7-0 just 4:55 into the contest. The visitors would tally three first downs on that drive and five more on their final scoring drive late in the game, but had just seven in their other 10 trips.

WPU did not answer right away, but turned the tides by forcing a turnover in its own territory the next time Grand View had the pigskin. One of 17 seniors recognized before the game, Jake Baptiste (Salt Lake City, Utah, Psychology) came up with the first of two interceptions for his squad.

The offense then went to work and a seven-play, 65-yard drive was capped by Tyler Wood (So., Newton, Iowa, Education) going in from four yards out to knot the contest.

The Statesmen defense, which limited the visitors to 226 total yards, forced two more punts and then Wood, highlighted by runs of 23 and 17 yards, and the rest of the offense doubled the advantage by halftime. Nate Van Veldhuizen (Oskaloosa, Iowa, Mechanical Engineering), who had a huge senior day with 108 yards, crossed the goal line on a three-yard dive to make it 14-7 after 30 minutes of action.

The Vikings picked up a first down to open the third quarter, but then a penalty and a huge sack (one of two on the day) pushed them way back and permitted WPU to start in GVU territory.

WPU found a chink in GVU’s armor in the first half and continued to exploit it. Van Veldhuizen and Wood accounted for 46 rushes Saturday, including all 11 on William Penn’s next drive. The victors converted on third down three times and Van Veldhuizen extended the advantage to 20-7 with a three-yard run.

Grand View marched down the field, looking to get back into the game, but the Statesmen came up with a massive goal-line stand with back-to-back tackles for loss. The Vikings were forced into a field-goal try and Josh Vasquez (So., Draper, Utah, Undecided) finished off the stop by blocking the kick.

With the momentum fully on the hosts’ side, William Penn went 80 yards and a Wood three-yard scoring run made it 27-7. The signal-caller, who did not need to complete a pass (three attempts), finished with a team-high 143 yards on the ground.

Another interception–this one by Winston Green (Sacramento, Calif., Psychology)–set up the Statesmen on GVU’s side of the ball and Van Veldhuizen put the cherry on top by hitting paydirt on a four-yard run. All 330 of William Penn’s yards came via rushing.

Wood, Van Veldhuizen, and Company put the points on the board, but the defense shut down one of the most potent offenses in the nation and the best passing attack in the Heart. GVU was held to only 149 yards passing.

Mason Wisse (Sr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Physical Education) headlined the defense with eight tackles, while Resean Coleman (So., River Rouge, Mich., Exercise Science) had one sack; Anthony Jackson (Jr., Detroit, Mich., Physical Education) and Darrick Harris (Jr., Oak Park, Mich., Biology) combined for the other.

“What a great win for our team!” Head Coach Todd Hafner said. “We have a lot of respect for Grand View, but today was our day. Our players were great and the coaches put together a great game plan. This was so much fun!”

“I would like to thank our seniors for everything they have done for our program,” Hafner added. “Their leadership and toughness really showed today.”

The game ends the collegiate careers of seniors Aaron Allen (Bolivar, Mo., Strength and Conditioning), Kyle Baldassarre (Webb City, Mo., Industrial Technology), Baptiste, Marcus Bell (River Rouge, Mich., Business Management), Brandon Brown (St. Louis, Mo., Business Management), Eric Cooper (Aguanga, Calif., Human Services and Psychology), Colby Ellis (Denison, Iowa, Biology), LeeAndre Fisher (Stockton, Calif., Sociology), Cory Fitzjarrell (Anderson, Calif., Exercise Science), Green, Leonard Grillo (Antioch, Calif., Communications), Dalton Haddock (Reeds Spring, Mo., Sports Management), Brandon Polito (St. Louis, Psychology and Sociology), Dajon Shaw (Highland Park, Mich., Exercise Science), Carl Sivels (Washington, Iowa, Sports Management), Van Veldhuizen, and Christian Williams (Elk Grove, Calif., Sports Management).

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Posted by on Nov 12 2017. Filed under College Sports, Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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