By Dave Toelle, Kansas Wesleyan Sports Information Director
Photo by Tanner Colvin Photography
SALINA, Kan. - What a way to open the home portion of the schedule. The Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes celebrated Community Day 2013 with an emphatic 38-28 win over No. 22 ranked Evangel (Mo.) on Saturday night at Salina Stadium.
The win evens Wesleyan’s record at 1-1 overall heading into next week’s KCAC opener at Southwestern in Winfield. Everything seemed to go right for the Coyotes, as they outgained the Crusaders and nearly doubled them up in time of possession in the game.
Wesleyan took a 7-0 lead to open the game when Trey Dallas hit Jesse Wassenberg streaking down the numbers for a 66-yard touchdown pass. The ball couldn’t have been thrown much better to the freshman receiver who then broke a couple tackles and scampered to the endzone with 10:59 to go in the first. Earlier in the drive, Wesleyan receiver Zach McClain caught his 118th career pass, becoming Wesleyan’s all-time leader in that category.
The Coyotes would lead 7-0 after the first quarter. Wesleyan struck again in the second, capping an eight-play, 83-yard march with a five-yard touchdown run by Taylor Sachs to put the Coyotes ahead 14-0 with 9:47 to go in the first half.
Evangel quickly answered back on its next possession as Andrew Brimhall hit Jess Vaughn for a 51-yard scoring strike with 7:38 to go in the half. After Wesleyan missed a field goal on its next possession, Evangel was on the board again as Brimhall called his own number, scoring from 42 yards out to even the score at 14-all with 2:08 to go before the half.
Both teams traded interceptions on their next drives and the Coyotes drove deep into Evangel territory at the end of the half, but could not convert on a field goal as time expired sending the teams to the half tied at 14.
Wesleyan got the ball to start the second half and scored right out of the gates. Sachs capped an 11 play, 65-yard drive with a two-yard run to give the Coyotes the lead at 21-14 with 9:34 to go in the third. Back came Evangel, using a 54-yard run by Otis Brown on the first play of the ensuing drive, the Crusaders scored two plays later when Brimhall his Jesse Vaughn for a 14-yard touchdown to tie things up with 8:05 left in the third.
Wesleyan scored again on its next drive as Dallas hit McClain for a 23-yard scoring play to give the Coyotes the lead for good. The drive was aided by a 28-yard run by Sachs.
Kenny Diaz picked off Brimhall on Evangel’s next drive, making the diving catch for the turnover that would set up Terry Stecker’s 30-yard field goal with 2:54 left in the quarter to put the Coyotes up 10 at 31-21.
Sachs broke off a 50-yard run on Wesleyan’s next drive and then scored from 12 yards out on the next play as the Coyotes extended their lead to 38-21 with 14:56 to go in the game. Evangel would score late when Brimhall connected with Vaughn for an 8-yard score to get the Crusaders back within 10 at 38-28.
Sachs had another huge game for the Coyotes, rushing for 191 yards on 36 carries with three touchdowns. Dallas was extremely efficient on the night, going 22-of-35 for 323 yards with two touchdowns. McClain caught 11 balls for 167 yards and a score while Sachs added four catches for 44 yards. Harwell led the Coyotes with 10 tackles and an interception.
Brown rushed for 112 yards for Evangel, while Brimhall was 17-of-36 for 255 yards with three touchdowns. Vaughn caught four passes for 89 yards and all three passing touchdowns. Kenny Bennett had 12 tackles including a sack to lead the Crusader defense.
Wesleyan opens KCAC play next week in Winfield at Southwestern College. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m., from Richard Jantz Stadium.