Statesmen gridders hope to get back on winning track
William Penn University
The Statesmen football squad travels out of state to play an NCAA Division II opponent Saturday.
No. 20-ranked William Penn (1-1) hits the road for Kirksville, Mo., to face the Truman Bulldogs (1-1) in Stokes Stadium at 7 p.m. William Penn went 9-3 last year and qualified for the Football Championship Series, while Truman, a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, went 4-7 a year ago.
Saturday’s game can be followed on the radio (740 AM) as well as three different internet sites: http://www.americaonesports.com/partner_members.
William Penn is 2-3 all-time in its series against Truman with the last meeting occurring in 1973. The Statesmen were victorious in that affair by a score of 28-10.
William Penn fell to No. 5 St. Francis (Ind.) 31-13 last week in its home opener.
The Statesmen took a 10-7 advantage in the first half, but the Cougars outscored the Statesmen 24-3 down the stretch.
Shawn Davis led the rushing attack with 67 yards and a touchdown for the lone offensive score of the game. Quarterback Taylor Parsons went down with an injury late in the third quarter and was replaced by Tyler Hafner, though the St. Francis defense stymied both signal-callers for most of the afternoon. William Penn was outgained 485-199.
Brock Peery and Isaac Samek paced the defense with 12 tackles each. Freddy Griggs and Micheal Welch also had solid defensive outings with nine and seven tackles, respectively.
Marcus Kerrigan was once again named Midwest League Special Teams Player of the Week, hitting field goals of 49 and 43 yards.
“I thought we played well enough for three quarters to win the game,” Penn coach Todd Hafner said. “Unfortunately, the game was four quarters long. We had some opportunities to make plays that just did not get done. We will need to play better for the whole game and continue to be really good on special teams.”
Thus far in 2013, William Penn is averaging 23.5 points and 275.0 yards per game, including 232.0 rushing and 43.0 passing.
Evan Ressler leads the team with 165 rushing yards, while Davis has also eclipsed the century mark with 101 yards and three scores.
Parsons has completed four of his nine passes for 64 yards. Aaron Broyles is pacing the receiving corps with four catches for 33 yards.
William Penn has committed two turnovers so far this fall.
Defensively, the Statesmen are giving up an average of 19.5 points and 320.5 yards, including 161.5 rushing and 159.0 passing.
A trio of players lead William Penn with 14 tackles each, while Nick DiMarco has a team-best three sacks (five tackles for loss). The junior ranks in the top 10 nationally in sacks, sacks per game, tackles for loss and tackles for loss per game.
The Statesmen have not forced a turnover yet this year.
Kerrigan is perfect with his foot, going 5-for-5 in extra points and 2-for-2 in field goals. The senior is again pairing up with Jason Johnson to make a strong punting duo. Johnson has punted four times for a 46.0 yard clip (fourth in the NAIA), while Kerrigan has five attempts for a 38.2 mark.
Several individuals have shown strength in the kick return game as William Penn ranks seventh in the NAIA with a 27.3-yard average.
The Bulldogs fell to perennial Division II power Grand Valley State 31-15 last week.
Garrett White led the Bulldogs with 96 yards rushing, while quarterback Conrad Schottel was 12-of-26 for 107 yards through the air.
The Bulldogs defense was roughed up in the loss, allowing 339 passing yards and 226 rushing yards.
Thus far in 2013, Truman is averaging 27.5 points and 294.0 yards per game, including 156.0 rushing and 138.0 passing.
Schottel leads the team with 276 yards on 26-of-48 passing (three touchdowns). Dallas Grier is his top receiving threat with 11 receptions for 128 yards and one score.
White is guiding the ground attack with 242 yards and one touchdown.
Truman has committed one turnover so far this fall.
Defensively, the Bulldogs are giving up an average of 34.0 points and 557.0 yards, including 407.0 passing and 150.0 rushing.
Austin Zoda leads Truman with 24 tackles, while Nic Abbate has four stops for loss. Brad Young has one sack and Matthew Bell has intercepted one pass.
The Bulldogs have forced two turnovers this year.
Derek Koon is 4-for-6 in field goals and perfect in extra points (5-for-5). Jacob Lamp is putting up big numbers in the punt game with a 45.5-yard clip over 11 attempts.
Tremaine Millender is tremendous in the kick return game with a 48.4-yard average (five returns), while Dallas Grier has taken two punts back for an average of 21.5 yards.
“Truman has a great football team,” Hafner said. “They are obviously well-coached and play really hard. We will have to match their level of intensity and play with all we have.”