EDWARDSVILLE — Looking to avenge embarrassment at the hands of Widener a year ago, Wilkes fell short of a victory on Saturday.
But in the 21-0 loss to the Pride at Schmidt Stadium, the Colonels take the good with the bad.
First the good.
The Wilkes defense picked up four turnovers — three interceptions and a fumble recovery — including three in the red zone, and sacked Widener quarterback Seth Klein three times.
Senior linebacker Tate Moore-Jacobs was all over the Pride on Saturday afternoon. He registered one of the sacks, piled up a game-high 17 tackles and four tackles for a loss. The unit only allowed 14 points as one of Widener’s touchdowns was an interception return.
“I thought the defense created some opportunities for us today that obviously you’d like to take advantage of,” Colonels coach Frank Sheptock said. “I thought our players demonstrated some great energy and enthusiasm. So I’m very pleased with our effort all around.”
Speaking of the interception return, that begins the not-so-good stats for the Colonels, who fell t0 1-2 on the season and 0-2 in the MAC.
Starting quarterback Tyler Berntsen looked good early on. But the senior only lasted one drive. On the last play of the Colonels’ first possession of the game, he was sacked, left with an injury to his non-throwing arm and did not return. His replacement, sophomore Dan Van Mater threw a pair of interceptions, including the one returned for a 59-yard score in the third quarter that put Widener ahead 14-0.
But on the return, Van Mater suffered a leg injury, left the game and did not return. Third-string freshman Taylor Young, from perennial state powerhouse Southern Columbia, entered the game. He, like Van Mater, only had two completions but netted a team-high 28 passing yards.
Even though current tight end Alex George has three years of experience as quarterback in the system, Sheptock said the thought of returning George back behind center was not an option.
“When we made the switch I told Alex ‘we’re jumping in this with both feet,’” the coach said. “The only way we would’ve done that is if Tyler had gotten hurt in the spring or during the first two weeks of camp. That was sort of the window of our go-back period.”
The bright spots for the quarterbacks is that if Berntsen will miss any amount of time, Van Mater and Young have shaken off the nerves by seeing action.
“They have to get baptism under fire at some point, so I’m very optimistic of what they’re going to be able to bring to the game because I do believe both Taylor and Ryan are excellent passers,” Sheptock added. “Those are the first time that those guys are in play in varsity ball, so to say there was a butterfly or two I think that would be the understatement of the day.”
Running back Pat Inguilli ran for a bruising game-high 102 yards on 29 carries for the Colonels helping the two quarterbacks get acclimated to the offense.
Widener 21, Wilkes 0
WIDE —Richard Brown 2 run (Ryan O’Hara kick) 1:30
WIDE — Colin Masterson 59 interception return (Ryan O’Hara kick) 2:31
WIDE — Robert Getz 3 run (Ryan O’Hara kick) 9:52
RUSHING — WIDE, Terrant Morrison 16-70, Chris Wickes 9-63, Richard Brown 8-32, Jermaine Quattelbaum 1-13, Rashon Sorrell 1-9, Kyle Shostek 1-3, Robert Getz 1-3, Seth Klein 6-(minus-3). WILKES, Pat Inguilli 29-102, Calvin Garvin 2-8, Mason Smith 2-6, P.J. Incremona 3-5, Tyler Berntsen 3-2, Taylor Young 3-(minus-3), Dan Van Mater 5-(minus-13).
PASSING — WIDE, Seth Klein 27-35-3-203. WILKES, Dan Van Mater 2-9-2-19, Taylor Young 2-7-2-28, Tyler Berntsen 1-1-0-11.
RECEIVING — WIDE, Anthony Davis 11-111, Connor Schlegel 3-14, Jermaine Quattelbaum 3-12, Chris Wickes 3-2, Philip Ragona 2-31, Terrant Morrison 2-18, Adam Marucci 2-9, Richard Brown 1-6. WILKES, Alex George 2-21, Drew Devitt 1-15, Dan Curry 1-13, Ryan Behrmann 1-9.
INTERCEPTIONS — WIDE, Brandon Harper, Dylan Ditmer, Colin Masterson, Ameer Sorrell. WILKES, Dylan Mohring, Jared Powell, Matt Briskie
MISSED FGs — none