Purple and White Pack a Punch in Home-Opening Win Over Wilmington

Purple and White Pack a Punch in Home-Opening Win Over Wilmington

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital Football had all aspects of its game working for it in a 35-21 victory over Wilmington College, Saturday night. A sea of purple flooded the stands at Bernlohr Stadium and witnessed the Capital defense cause four turnovers and Cory Heeter rush for three touchdowns for the second straight week. Capital is now 2-0 in Ohio Athletic Conference play heading into its rivalry week.

Capital's offense and defense had limelight moments throughout the course of the game, and both early on. The defense highlighted first, forcing Wilmington (0-3, 0-2 OAC) into a three-and-out on its opening drive. They bettered that effort with its second defensive stand that resulted in an interception by sophomore J.R. Garrigo (Miami, Fla.), which he returned 45 yards to the Wilmington 15-yard line.

On the very next play, Capital sophomore quarterback Thomas Wibbeler (Zanesville, Ohio/Zanesville) found freshman wide receiver David Barnett (Springfield, Ohio/Shawnee) in the far corner of the end zone from 15 yards out for a quick six points and an early lead. It would not be the last time the two connected for a touchdown.

Wilmington embarked on a solid drive to respond, going 60 yards in 16 plays capped off by a two-yard touchdown run by quarterback Chase Manica. However, Capital's special team unit came up big when the Quakers fumbled the snap on the point after try. Sophomore Jordan Duncan (Sunnyvale, Calif.) picked up the rock and totted it over 90 yards the other way to claim two points and make the score 9-6 in favor of Cap.

J.R. Garrigo postgame interview

The score stayed that way until the midway point of the second quarter when junior Cory Heeter (Circleville, Ohio) finished off a seven-play, 44-yard drive with the first of his three touchdown rushes on the night. His first came from three yards out and with Will Weir's successful PAT made the score 16-6. He scored one again later in the quarter with 1:17 left on the clock with a two-yard scoring run, bursting his way up the middle of the Quaker defense. That score was a product of an interception by sophomore LaShaun Sanders that was brought back to the Wilmington 28 to start the drive.

With a 22-6 lead coming out of the locker room, Capital continued to keep the foot on the gas and scored on its opening possession of the second half. The connection between Wibbeler and Barnett was reestablished, and done so in a fashionable way. On second and goal, Barnett ran from his spot off the edge and found a soft spot in the back of the end zone. Wibbeler's pass was positioned only where the 6-foot, 3-inch Barnett could retrieve it, and he did so while getting a toe down to complete the touchdown grab.

After Heeter's third touchdown run, which built a 35-13 lead, the defense came back with its third interception of the game. Junior Eric Stroski (Concord, Ohio) made the pick in Wilmington territory, his second in as many games.

Junior Austin White made Capital's fourth pick of the night, thwarting a Wilmington drive just short of them entering the red zone. It was the first of White's career.

Capital Football Sings "Pride of the Purple"
Ringing the Victory Bell

Despite the four takeaways, Capital did surrender 359 yards of total offense to the Quakers, but the visitors also ran 17 more offensive plays. Two-hundred eighty-five of those yards came through the air, while for the third week in a row Capital did not allow a 100-yard rusher. Creditt finished 31-for-48, good for 285 yards and one touchdown.

For Capital (2-1, 2-0), Heeter highlighted its offensive effort with a career-high 93 yards on 17 carries. For the second straight week, he found the end zone three times.

Wibbeler went 15-for-23 through the air for 193 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Both touchdown passes went to Barnett, marking his second and third of the season.

Sophomore linebacker Kane Murray (Warren, Ohio) was in on a career-high 11 tackles (1 solo), tying junior Derek Eibon (Amherst, Ohio) for total tackles on the night. Eibon recorded four solor tackles to lead the Crusaders in that category.

Junior Ben Heilman (Columbus, Ohio/Olentangy Orange) and senior Nick Wright (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) each had one sack against the Quakers.

The win also brings about the extension of Capital's winning streak over Wilmington, now hitting 16 straight meetings dating back to 2001. This also pushes Cap to 2-0 in OAC play for the second straight year. The last time Capital had started 2-0 in conference was when they did so in 2007 and 2008.

The game was preceded by Capital's annual Family Day with festivities beginning as early as 10 a.m. Prior to the game, a Pokemon Go! hunt was conducted, sponsored by Capital Athletics, the Capital Gaming Collective, and the Capital Pokemon Go League.

Capital will hit the road for the third time this season and embark on its rivalry week. Otterbein University awaits, next Saturday, Oct. 1. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. from Memorial Stadium.