Saturday, September 7, 2013

MAC Football: Five rushing touchdowns propel Wilkes football past Morisville

Paul Martin scored three of the Colonels fiive rushing touchdowns
in the 41-26 victory over Morrisville State Saturday
EDWARDSVILLE – The Wilkes University football team continued its dominance running the football as the Colonels accumulated 263 yards and five rushing touchdowns in a 41-26 victory over visiting Morrisville College Saturday afternoon at Schmidt Stadium.

Wilkes moves to 1-0 overall, marking the sixth season opening win at home under head coach Frank Sheptock. Morrisville State drops to 0-1 in Mustang head coach Kurt Fitzpatrick’s coaching debut.

After an opening possession that saw Wilkes go four and out, Morrisville mustered an 11-play, 44-yard drive that stalled at the Wilkes 8. A Zach Drake 24-yard field goal gave the Mustangs an early 3-0 lead with 9:00 on the first quarter clock.

The Colonels responded on their next possession using the running game as its main attack. Patrick Ingulli did most of the damage rushing five times for 15 yards. Quarterback Tyler Berntsen also used his feet out of the pocket scampering 18 yards after heavy pressure up front. A Morrisville personal foul penalty brought Wilkes inside the Mustang 20. From there, Ingulli went for nine and Nick Dawson one yard spotting the ball on the Morrisville 4. Paul Martin cashed in on the Colonels first touchdown of the day going in from four yards out for his first touchdown in the Navy and Gold. A Jordan Fredo extra point gave Wilkes a 7-3 lead with 2:58 left in the first quarter.

Morrisville wasted little time taking back the advantage when quarterback Lemar Johnson hit Josh Powell for a 67-yard touchdown reception just one minute later giving the Mustangs a 10-7 lead.

Wilkes continued with the ground attack at the start of the second quarter. Calvin Garvin rushed for seven yards followed by a four yard gain. After an incomplete pass, Garvin found some space on the outside running for 16 yards down to the Morrisville 16. David Claybrook took an end around run for 11 more yards setting up Ingulli’s five yard touchdown dash two plays later. Fredo’s extra point gave Wilkes a 14-10 lead with 12:32 left in the first half.

After Morrisville answered Wilkes’ touchdown drive with one of its own, the teams traded turnovers as David Wilke forced a Mustang fumble that was recovered by Marcus Leaf at the Morrisville 15. Four straight rushing plays capped by a Martin touchdown run put Wilkes ahead 21-17 with 6:10 left until the break.

Morrisville took one last drive late in the second quarter that stalled at the Wilkes 12. Drake then connected on a 29-yard field goal to send the teams to the half with Wilkes holding a one point advantage at 21-20.

The Wilkes defense held on to stop Morrisville on the opening drive of the second half as an incomplete pass on fourth down gave the ball back to Wilkes at their own 28. With the running attack moving the ball up the field, the Colonels went to the play action pass and it worked for a quick score. Berntsen found tight end Drew Devitt wide open down the right side of the field for a 47-yard touchdown reception. Fredo’s extra point made it 28-20 Wilkes with 9:15 left in the third quarter.

Morrisville used a 12-play, 75 yard drive capped by a one yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to two, 28-26. The two point conversion failed when Johnson went incomplete to one of his receivers in the right corner of the endzone.

Wilkes put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter using the running game again to finish the job. Ten straight rushing plays highlighted by Berntsen’s one yard touchdown sneak gave the Colonels a little breathing room up 35-26 with 10:04 on the fourth quarter clock.

After a Morrisville four and out, Berntsen was intercepted by Caleb Wright allowing the Mustangs one last chance at a comeback. The comeback was short-lived as DJ Shuttleworth made a great read on Johnson intercepting a pass at the Morrisville 27 setting up the Colonels last drive.

From there, Wilkes used a 7-play, 27-yard drive to put the game out of reach. Berntsen and Martin traded long runs before Martin went into the endzone for his third touchdown of the day.

Martin was the story on the ground finishing with 20 carries for 78 yards and three scores. Berntsen added 12 carries for 65 yards and one touchdown, while Ingulli totaled 57 yards on 12 attempts and one score. Garvin went for 39 yards on nine steady carries.

Berntsen was efficient in the passing game finishing 6-for-13 for 103 yards and one touchdown. Devitt made two catches for 62 yards including the 47-yard touchdown reception.

Johnson led the Mustang aerial attack finishing 30-for-46 for 321 yards and one touchdown. The Mustangs struggled throughout the day on the ground totaling just 88 yards on 29 attempts.

Defensively Wilkes was led by Tate Moore-Jacobs with a game-high 14 tackles and 2.5 tackles-for-loss. Dylan Mohring followed with 11 tackles from his safety position, while Rob Houseknecht and Wilke each posted one forced fumble and combined for seven tackles. Shuttleworth enjoyed a fine afternoon making four tackles and the key interception late.

Wilkes begins Middle Atlantic Conference play next Saturday when the Colonels travel to Williamsport, Pa. to face preseason favorite Lycoming College at 1:00 p.m.