This past weekend, the football team traveled to Waterville, Maine to take on the Colby Mules in a NESCAC battle. Wesleyan came out of the game with a 37-6 win, marking the second straight week where the Cardinals held their opponent to 6 points and scored over 30.
Colby started with the ball, and after forcing an opening three-and-out, the Cardinals took over at their own 49-yard line. Four plays later, Devon Carrillo ’18 found paydirt on a 25-yard rush. After the extra point, the Cardinals had a 7-0 lead under three minutes into the game.
On Colby’s next drive, the Mules moved the ball down the field well, but the Cardinals clamped down in the red zone to force a field goal attempt. However, Colby couldn’t even get three points on the board as Nate Taylor ’18 made a splash on special teams and blocked the field goal attempt.
The next Wesleyan drive was stalled by three consecutive penalties. But after punting the ball back to Colby, the Cardinal defense forced another three-and-out, highlighted by a Brandon Morris ’19 sack. Getting the ball back, the Cardinals drove 12 plays, capped off by a 41-yard Lou Stevens ’17 rush and a one-yard Carrillo touchdown rush. The extra point put Wes up by 14 with just over seven minutes left in the first half.
On the following Colby drive, the defense forced a turnover on downs. The Cards then drove 69 yards, helped by a Colby pass interference penalty. Ike Fuchs ’17 then kicked a field goal to put the Cardinals up 17 as the first-half clock expired.
The first two drives out of the second half resulted in the teams exchanging punts, and then Head Coach Dan DiCenzo mixed it up on offense. Gernald Hawkins ’18 came in at QB and rushed the ball five times in a row. Then, Carrillo returned to the game in a wildcat look, and proceeded to throw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Mike Breuler ’18. This was a surprise for the Mule’s defense but one that Carrillo savors.
“I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity I have been given to not only run and catch, but also throw,” Carrillo said. “In my opinion, the variability makes other teams not know what to expect and have to worry more about how to stop us.”
This unpredictability is something that regular QB Mark Piccirillo ’19 likes as well. Piccirillo finished with a surprising 109 rushing yards from six attempts.
“It has always been a part of my game to run when I can, whether designed or not,” Piccirillo said. “I think it is good to show defenses both throws and runs so they have to then spend more time game planning around that and even maybe change up the way they do things.”
Unfortunately, the extra point was no good, leaving the score at 23-0 after Breuler’s touchdown.
On the next drive, Taylor made another big play by intercepting the Mules’ Christian Sparacio. The Cardinals offense then came on the field to drive 69 yards, finishing with a 48-yard Piccirillo touchdown rush to give Wesleyan a commanding 30-0 lead.
Another Colby punt was forced by the Wesleyan defense. However, on the Cardinals’ next drive, one of Hawkins’ passes was intercepted by the Mule defense. Colby then drove down the field and finally managed to get on the scoreboard via a 12-yard Sparacio touchdown pass to Sebastian Ferrell. Wesleyan was able to block the Mule’s second kick attempt by denying the extra point attempt.
The Cardinals wasted no time in responding, as Hawkins threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Mehr ’17. After Fuchs’ fourth successful extra point, the score reached 37-6, where it would stay as the clock ran out over the next two drives.
The second straight dominating effort pushed the Cardinals to a 2-1 record and a tie for fourth place in the NESCAC behind three undefeated teams. The loss dropped Colby to 0-3 and into the cellar of the NESCAC.
“Our team is more than capable of competing for the NESCAC championship,” Carrillo said. “The inspiring leadership demonstrated by all the seniors on the team has noticeably changed the culture of Wesleyan football. Our relentless determination to be great, to succeed and defeat other teams is what will carry us forward and hopefully push us to win the Little Three and NESCAC championship.”
Next week, the Cardinals travel back up north to visit Bates.
“To get a road win in this league is always very big since there are only so many games each team gets to play at home; they want to win just as bad as us,” Picirillo said. “Next week is again up in Maine, and we just have to do the same thing we did all week starting on Monday.”