Wesley Stops Salisbury in Top 10 Clash

Shane McSweeny
Shane McSweeny

DOVER, Del. - No. 7 Wesley College halted 10th-ranked Salisbury's high scoring attack, allowing just a pair of touchdowns as the Wolverines picked up a 23-14 win.

Shane McSweeny (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem) went 16-of-22 passing for 233 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown in the game. 

For the second straight year, the Wolverines held Sea Gull (7-1) quarterback Dan Griffin in check.  The option signal caller rushed for just 14 yards on 13 attempts and completed only 3-of-10 passes for 75 yards. 

Wesley (7-1) averted a near disaster late in a scoreless first quarter when a snap went over the head of punter John Smicklo (Toms River, N.J./Toms River East).  The junior tracked the ball down and scrambled away from a defender before getting off a kick on the run.  Salisbury took over near midfield, but the Wolverines forced them to turn the ball over on downs.

The Wolverines took over at their own 25 and started the series with a 29-yard reverse to Steven Koudossou (Waldorf, Md./Westlake) that moved the ball into Sea Gull territory.  A 14-yard run by Askia Jahad (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown) followed, but after that first down, the Wolverines faced a fourth and eight.  McSweeny bought himself some time and found tight end Sean McAndrew (Lanoka Harbor, N.J./Lacey Township) in the middle of the field for a 15-yard gain to the Salisbury 15.  McSweeny later rushed for 10 yards to make it first and goal before finishing the 10-play, 75-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown plunge.  Dan Tryon's (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) extra point gave Wesley a 7-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

The Sea Gulls tied it up on the third play of the second half when Ross Flanigan broke free for a 62-yard touchdown run. 

Wesley answered back immediately, however.  After an 11-yard run by McSweeny put the ball on the Wolverine 30, the quarterback dropped back and heaved a pass to Koudossou behind the Salisbury defense for a 70-yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead with 11:47 left in the third quarter. 

Late in the third quarter, Kyle Hamby's punt hit one of his own blockers and Dominique Herald (Newark, N.J./Pennington School) returned it to the Salisbury 45.  Passes to Hassan Alston (Randallstown, Md./New Town) for 23 yards and Matt Bundy (Media, Pa./Penncrest) for 19 yards set up Jahad's three-yard touchdown run to give Wesley a 20-7 lead just four seconds into the fourth quarter.

The Sea Gulls answered with a two-play, 70-yard drive capped by a 52 yard pass from Griffin to Juma Richards with 14:09 to play that made it 20-14. 

A 23-yard run by McSweeny and a 30-yard scamper by Jahad on the next Wesley offensive series set up a 31-yard field goal by Tryon for a 23-14 lead with 10:19 to play. 

Faced with a fourth and four on their next drive, Griffin gained just one yard and Wesley took over, eating up the final 7:12 of the contest on 11 plays to run out the clock.

Jahad rushed for 70 yards in the game.  Kodossou had one rush for 29 yards and also caught a 70-yard touchdown.

Jahad, Alston and McAndrew each had three catches as eight different Wesley players all caught passes.

Salisbury's two scoring plays accounted for 114 yards, but the Wesley defense allowed just 187 total yards on the Sea Gulls' other 51 offensive plays.

Paul Gilstrop (Lindenwold, N.J./Paul VI) led the defense with 10 tackles, while Sosthene Kapepula (Olney, Md./Sherwood) and Jordan Culbreath (Lansdowne, Pa./West Catholic) had seven apiece.  Jeff Morgan (Vineland, N.J./Vineland) had six tackles, 2.0 TFL and 1.5 sacks.  Herald added half a sack and Devin Hardy (Baltimore, Md./Eastern Tech) also notched a sack as the Wolverines picked up three sacks on just 14 drop backs by Salisbury. 

Flanigan had five rushes for 86 yards and a touchdown, while Randal Smedley carried the ball 11 times for 74 yards.  The 226 yards rushing were the Sea Gulls' fewest since running for just 164 against the Wolverines a year ago.

Alex Akinseye had a game-high 13 tackles, including three for loss, while Chris Everett had 10 stops.  Matt Leon had five tackles for loss among his nine tackles.

It was the seventh straight victory for Wesley in the Route 13 Rivalry and the first time since 1997 that the contest was not a conference game. 

Head Coach Mike Drass headed to Pittsburgh after the game to present Associate Head Coach Chip Knapp's family with the game ball, where their 16-year old son Ben Knapp is currently hospitalized.

Wesley travels to Apprentice on November 5.