Saturday, September 24, 2016

Wilkes Football - Colonels Football Late Rally Falls Short in 25-23 Loss at Widener

Photo Courtesy of Wilkes Athletics
CHESTER, PA – After falling behind 19-0 after one quarter, visiting Wilkes University outscored host Widener University 23-6 over the game’s final three quarters only to come up short on two final game-tying or game-winning drives as the Colonels fell 25-23 in Middle Atlantic Conference action Saturday afternoon.

With the road defeat Wilkes slips to 1-3 overall and 1-1 in MAC play. Widener improves to 2-1 overall and 2-0 in league games.

Widener stormed out to a 19-0 lead thanks to a rushing, passing and interception return for touchdowns. After a Pride field goal pushed the advantage to 22-0 early in the second quarter, Wilkes began its comeback attempt.

Starting at its own 22 yard line, the Wilkes offense began its first scoring drive of the day. Ryan Dailey connected with his tight end Garret Armstrong for 11 yards followed by two runs from Jacob Brook that moved the Colonels to their own 39. After a roughing the passer penalty on Widener, Jose Tabora entered the game under center for Wilkes and hit William Deemer for a 15-yard gain followed by a designed quarterback run for another 15 yards. Another Tabora rush and Dailey to Deemer completion moved Wilkes inside the Widener ten at the eight yard line. Dailey threw a six yard completion to Deemer before calling his own number from two yards out for the rushing score as Wilkes trailed 22-7 with 4:11 remaining in the half.

The Colonel defense forced a quick three and out that resulted in a punt that setup the Wilkes offense with time left in the half to add more points. Dailey went to the air on the drive connecting with Armstrong for 15 yards, Ryan Richards for 14 yards and Paul Martin for five yards to the Widener 28. Dailey then hit Deemer on a third and five for 20 yards moving the Colonels inside the five yard line of the Pride. After a short gain on the ground and two incomplete passes, Wilkes had to settle for a field goal and Mike Hauck drilled home a 21-yard strike to cut the Pride lead to 22-10 at the half.

The teams traded punts throughout the third quarter with neither team putting up any points in the frame.

Wilkes began the fourth with the ball at its own 25. Brook went for 12 yards on the ground followed by a 19-yard gain from Dailey to move the Colonels to the Widener 44. From there, Dailey hit his favorite target of the day yet again, connecting with Deemer for a 30-yard reception down to the Widener 14. After a completion to the six yard line, Dailey found Armstrong wide open in the end zone for Wilkes’ second score of the day moving the Colonels to 22-17 following Hauck’s extra point.

Widener added a field goal with 10:05 left in the game taking advantage of a Wilkes turnover to extend its lead to 25-17. Wilkes wasted little time answering back scoring five plays later on a Brook run from four yards out. The drive was highlighted by a Dailey-to-Deemer pitch and catch for 50 yards moving Wilkes inside the Widener 20. Wilkes elected to go for the tie and two point conversion, but the pass attempt failed with the Colonels trailing 25-23 with 8:03 left on the clock.

The Wilkes defense came up big again over the next two Widener possessions forcing punts, but Wilkes was unable to mount a game-tying or game-winning drive over its final two possessions as Widener was able to gain possession with less than two minutes remaining running out the clock and securing the win.

Dailey finished 21-for-34 for 238 yards and one score through the air. Deemer enjoyed his second straight 100+ yard game receiving posting ten catches for a game-high 147 yards. Brook led the Wilkes ground game with 53 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown.

Tanner Stengel led the Wilkes defense with a season-high 15 tackles. Marcellus Hayes and Ondre Roberts each posted an interception leading a Colonel secondary that limited Widener to just 157 yards passing.

Wilkes returns home next Saturday hosting FDU-Florham at 1:00 p.m. at Schmidt Stadium on Homecoming 2016.

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