DOYLESTOWN, Pa. – The No. 11 Wesley College football team couldn't shake off a 22-3 halftime deficit to the No. 20 Delaware Valley Aggies as they dropped their second consecutive season opener to the Aggies, 24-19 Thursday night at James Work Memorial Stadium.
Sophomore tailback E.J, Lee carried the ball 32 times for 162 yards, both career highs and one touchdown. James Okike and Alex Kemp both caught five passes from quarterback Nick Falkenberg. Kemp tallied 90 receiving yards while Okike notched 53 yards receiving. Falkenberg went 18-of-30 for 227 yards with a touchdown pass to Dan Kesack and an interception.
Delaware Valley and Wesley traded field goals on their opening possessions. DelVal's Pat Moran scored the opening points of the game on a 39-yard field goal while Wesley's Nick Bruhn capped off a 10 play, 53-yard drive with a chip shot 22-yard field goal.
Delaware Valley then recorded a 19-0 scoring run in the second quarter. DelVal's Dashawn Darden linked up with Aaron Nelson on a 39-yard fly route to take a 10-3 lead with 12:28 left in the first half.
Wesley was driving down the field with seven minutes to go in the first half when Falkenberg was stripped on DelVal's 30-yard line by Nick DiGati and the fumble was picked up and returned 70 yards by DelVal's Nick Wright for a touchdown. Moran's kick was no good to give DelVal the 13-point lead.
Darden then found Marquis Ellis streaking down the sideline for a 30-yard touchdown pass with 3:05 left in the second quarter to take a 22-3 lead into the half.
The Wolverines came alive out of the locker room after halftime. Lee finished off an 11 play, 79-yard drive to open the second half with a two-yard touchdown run. The highlight of the drive was a 49-yard pitch and catch by Falkenberg to Kemp to put the Wolverines just outside of the Aggie red zone.
After a defensive stop by the Wolverines, Bruhn converted his second field goal of the day with a 35-yard kick with 3:15 to go in the third quarter.
The Wolverine offense tried to rally back in the fourth quarter. A 53-yard punt by DelVal's Stephen Adams and an illegal block in the back penalty by Wesley put the offense deep in their own territory with eight minutes to go in the game. A false start penalty put the Wolverines back on their own four-yard line. Then, DelVal's Nick Wright came off the edge untouched to sack Falkenberg in the endzone for a safety.
Following the safety, the Wolverines were staring at a 12-pomt deficit with seven minutes left in the game. The Wolverine defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing DelVal drive to give Wesley the ball with 4:40 to go in the game on their own 40-yard line.
A pass interference on DelVal and a 33-yard third-down conversion from Falkenberg to Cappadonna Miller gave the Wolverines the ball in DelVal's redzone. Two plays later, Falkenberg found Kesack on a seven-yard slant for a touchdown. Bruhn converted the point after to cut the DelVal lead to five points with a 1:58 to go in the game.
The Wolverine defense did it's job and caused a DelVal three-and-out to give the Wolverine offense the ball at their own 14-yard line with 43 seconds to go in the game, Backup quarterback Khaaliq Burroughs was able to draw a defensive pass interference on a deep ball to Kemp but it was too little, too late as DelVal was able to force a turnover on downs and seal the season-opening victory.
The Wolverines outgained the Aggies 384-242 on offense. The Wolverine defense pitched a shutout in the second half and held the Aggie offense to 85 yards of total offense.
The Wolverines (0-1) will begin New Jersey Athletic Conference play on Sat., Sept. 16 when they head up to Trenton, N.J. to take on the College of New Jersey Lions. Kickoff from Lions Stadium is scheduled for noon.