Football's Rally Falls Short in Season Opening Loss

WR Kevin Alford
WR Kevin Alford

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. - The NC Wesleyan College football team opened their spring season on Sunday afternoon with a tough 13-6 home loss to West Division foe Maryville College (TN) from the Vernon T. Bradley Complex.

Maryville (1-0) got on the board first driving 28 yards in 9 plays to score on a short rushing touchdown early in the second quarter to lead 6-0.

Wesleyan then drove down the field late in the first half getting inside the 10 yard line before settling for a field goal attempt, but kicker Nolan Weloff's attempt sailed wide left. 

The Bishops then came out in the second half with a good defensive stop of the Scots before the offense took over on their own 8 yard line. Junior QB Terrence Craig then threw a bomb towards midfield where junior WR Kevin Alford caught it and ran it the rest of the way for a 92 yard touchdown.

The teams would then trade possessions until about halfway through the fourth quarter when some missed opportunities would end up costing the Bishops. A potential pick six interception was batted around, but ultimately dropped by freshman CB Omarh Toliver early in the 4th while on the next Maryville possession, freshman linebacker James Hayden would force and recover a MC fumble at his own 14. 

Wesleyan's ensuing drive, however, resulted in an interception thrown by sophomore QB Storm Yarbrough resulting in a pick six for the Scots and a 13-6 lead. Wesleyan then began their potential game-tying drive with about 6 minutes remaining on their own 30. The Bishops would drive to midfield but two missed throws to a wide open Alford would unfortunately cost Wesleyan a chance at the potential tying score resulting in the loss.

Wesleyan finished with nearly 100 more total yards of offense on the day than the Scots, but MC controlled the time of possession by 7 minutes and the field position game as they repeatedly put the Bishops in long field situations. Senior RB Jeff Black led the ground game with 49 yards rushing while Alford led in receiving yards with 110 on 3 receptions and his TD. Craig ended up throwing for 166 yards through the air as well.

Defensively, Wesleyan ended the day with 5 sacks including three from sophomore outside linebacker Charles Sias and a team-leading 9 total tackles as well. Sias also led in tackles-for-loss with 3.5.

Sophomore DB RJ Carter and junior DE Rob Carley also recorded 8 tackles apiece while Hayden and sophomore NT Noah Roberson recorded the other sacks on the game. Toliver also led with 3 pass breakups and made 5 tackles.

The matchup between the USA South foes was the season opener for both and served as a non-conference game. Wesleyan will now remain home to host Division rival Methodist on Saturday at 12 Noon from the Bradley Complex.