Offense Opens Up on Wilmington in OAC Opening Win

(Jeff Mills photo).
(Jeff Mills photo).

WILMINGTON, Ohio – Capital Football opened up the Ohio Athletic Conference season in fashion with a demonstrative 49-27 win at Wilmington College on Saturday night. Capital posted six rushing touchdowns and the defense held true to guide the Crusaders to its first win of the season.

Capital's nationally-ranked rushing attack put on a show, led by sophomore B-back Brent Walton (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central) and his three rushing touchdowns, tying his career high set last week against No. 17 Wittenberg. Walton racked up 179 yards on 19 carries (9.4 ypc) and scored each of Capital's first three touchdowns. One of his rushes went for 53 yards, a new career high that was previously set against Wilmington last year.

Walton was one of three Capital ball carriers to have at least 40 yards on the ground and one of three to find the end zone. Sophomore quarterback Nick Iske (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) may not have ended the night with high yardage numbers, but twice hit paydirt on rushes of one and three yards.

Senior Zak Wirick (West Liberty, Ohio) completed the list of Crusaders with a rushing touchdown when he scored on a 15-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter.

Capital jumped out to a 14-0 lead just two possessions into the contest. Both of their first offensive drives went 60 or more yards and lasted at least three minutes. Each also ended in a 14-yard touchdown run by Walton.

Wilmington (1-1, 0-1 OAC) responded early in the second quarter when quarterback Luke Creditt hit Justin Lee for 26 yards to cap off an 11-play, 73-yard drive.

The Quakers' seven-point deficit expanded once again at the hands of Walton when he rattled off a 23-yard touchdown run, ending another 70-plus yard drive downfield.

Lee added another touchdown, this time on the ground, to close the gap once again. In response, Iske set up his own touchdown run with a self-serving drive that included a 52-yard pass to Wirick and another rush of seven yards. Capital's lead grew to 13 points, 27-14, following a blocked point-after try.

Not only did Iske score twice, but he also controlled Capital's aerial attack with a strong and accurate arm. Iske posted his third career game with 100 or more yards passing by completing 8-of-11 pass attempts for 147 yards and zero interceptions.

Sophomore place kicker Jack Johns (Pittsburgh, Pa.) had a career day and one of the best for a Capital special teamer in recent history. Johns went 5-for-6 on extra-point attempts and added two field goals at distances of 27 and 36 yards. He finished having scored a total of 11 points.

The offense recorded 509 total yards, the most it had collected since the 2014 season opener when the Crusaders set records with 735 total offensive yards against Earlham College (Ind.). Capital has posted 150 or more yards on the ground in eight straight games and 300 or more rushing yards in five straight games.

The Crusader defense bent but did not break, allowing 458 yards but only 27 points. They stopped two key fourth down conversion attempts and kept their opponent's top rusher under 100 yards for the second week in a row.

Capital's Eric Stroski (Concord, Ohio) led the team with eight tackles, six solo and one for a loss. The defense broke up two passes and totaled four tackles for loss.

Junior Jimmy Curtis (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) finished with three tackles but tacked on two points after he intercepted Luke Creditt on a two-point conversation attempt. Curtis took the rock 98 yards the other way with 1:11 remaining in the game for the final points.

Capital is now 1-1 overall and 1-0 in OAC play heading into next week's matchup against Muskingum University. The Muskies and Crusaders will play in the first home football night game in Bernlohr Stadium's history. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.