VIDEO: Wesley opens Division III playoffs with dominating win
Justin Sottilare tied a school record with six touchdown passes as Wesley cruised passed Mount Ida 73-14 in the opening round of the NCAA Division III National Football Tournament.
The Mustangs from Newton, Mass. picked up some momentum after a Sottilare screen pass to Steve Koudossou was bobbled and intercepted by Kayln Smithson for a 41 yard pick-six, but that would be the last real highlight for Mount Ida.
The ensuing kickoff was squibbed to Wesley blocker Jared Morris, who proceeded to return the gift 76 yards to the end zone to re-establish a 14-7 lead.
Wesley's offense then scored touchdown passes from Sottilare on each of its possessions for the rest of the half, starting with a Jeremiah Howe 34 yard catch to make it 21-7 after one. Touchdown passes to Steve Koudossou (57 yards), Matt Bundy (15 yards), and Brandon Robinson (14 yards) were only countered by a bizarre set of plays by Mount Ida in a 41-14 game at the break.
Mount Ida's lone second quarter touchdown came after they ran a fake punt play where the snap went to protector Matt Valentini, who then faked a run and tossed back to punter Scott Drosendahl. Drosendahl, also the team's quarterback, then found right side gunner Jovan Wilkins wide open in Wesley terrirtory. Later in the drive the Mustangs ran a wide receiver reverse, only to have Dejhaun Williams find Jordan Hyman open in the end zone after a Wolverine defender slipped.
The teams traded turnovers to start the second half, but then the Wolverine offense continued its dominance as Ishamar Malcolm collected a 9 yard pass from Sottilare following an Aamir Petrose interception. Mount Ida then surrendered a safety after a punt snap sailed over Drosendahl's head and out of the end zone to make it 50-14.
Wesley's drive after the free kick started at the 50, but was marred by an altercation between Wesley left tackle Brian Cranmer and Mount Ida lineman A.J. Knibbs that led to the latter's ejection. On the next play, Sottilare threw a perfect 29 yard pass to Koudossou to push the lead out to 57-14.
A 27-yard field goal by Dan Tryon, who missed a 57-yarder just before halftime, and a 2 yard touchdown run by Kennard Squirrell completed the scoring for the Wolverines.
Wesley amassed 514 yards of offense, including 267 out of the right arm of Sottilare, who was 15-of-23 with the six touchdowns and one interception. Koudossou led all receivers with 4 catches for 101 yards and two scores, while Askia Jahad was Wesley's top rusher with 83 yards and the one touchdown.
Drosendahl, who entered the game 4th in the nation in passing efficacy was just 11-of-29 for 104 yards and two interceptions. Chris McNally netted just 22 yards on 22 carries, as the overall Mustang rushing attack was charged with minus-10 yards on 38 carries when you include Wesley's 5 sacks and the blown punt snap.
Wesley advances to the 2nd round of the Division III tournament for the 8th straight year, and will face Cortland State Saturday at Noon at Miller Stadium. Cortland State survived a challenge from Framingham State before winning 20-19 thanks to a missed extra point in the final minutes.
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