By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
WILMINGTON, Ohio – A very energized Wilmington College team successfully defended Williams Stadium against Capital University in Saturday night's Ohio Athletic Conference football contest. The Fightin' Quakers (2-1, 1-1 OAC) and Crusaders went back and forth in the fourth quarter, but in overtime Wilmington scored and stopped Cap on its drive to the end zone. Wilmington delivered a 37-30 loss to Cap and ended two lengthy losing streaks in the process.
The fourth quarter featured two touchdowns by each team to result in a 30-30 deadlock heading into the final five minutes. Down 30-23 with 4:52 to go, the Crusaders received good field position and proceeded to storm down the field on its drive. Sophomore wide receiver David Barnett (Springfield, Ohio/Shawnee) was Thomas Wibbeler's favorite target after connecting for a 26-yard completion downfield. The two then connected again with Barnett making a stellar catch while draped by a host of Wilmington defenders inside the front pylon to make it 30-29. Blake Middleton's point-after touchdown attempt was good, tying the game.
Capital (1-2, 1-1 OAC) had a chance to win the game by creating one last possession with less than one minute to go. The Crusaders started on its own 20-yard line and in 37 seconds flipped the field and put themselves on the Wilmington 27-yard line. Middleton lined up for a 44-yard field goal attempt and kicked it far enough, but the ball sailed wide left by less than one foot, leaving the game tied.
In overtime, Capital won the coin toss and deferred, putting Wilmington on offense first. Wilmington took advantage of a pass play in which Cap's backend coverage broke down, then quarterback Luke Creditt found PJ Meyer in front of the goal line all alone for the go-ahead touchdown.
Down 37-30 following the successful PAT, Capital struggled to move the ball forward. On fourth down and 15 from the Wilmington 25 yard-line, Wibbeler tried to find Dar Stanford for the first down to keep the drive alive. Wilmington's Leroy Wilson got the inside edge and knocked the ball away from Stanford, ending the game.
The loss ends a 16-game winning streak that Capital possessed over the Quakers, and granted Wilmington its first conference win in 41 games.
Capital stormed out of the gate with an eight-play, 62-yard drive to get on the board with the opening drive of the game. The Crusaders ran its hurry-up offense and a big 27-yard reception from quarterback Thomas Wibbeler (Zanesville, Ohio/Zanesville) to junior wide receiver Dar Stanford (Zanesville, Ohio/Zanesville) on third and three yards to go put the Crusaders inside the 10-yard line. Capital kept the pace quick with a five-yard run by senior Cory Heeter (Circleville, Ohio/Logan Elm), which set up a quick quarterback keeper up the middle for the game's first score.
Freshman Blake Middleton's point-after touchdown attempt was good and gave Capital an early 7-0 lead.
Wilmington responded with a drive all the way inside the Capital three-yard line, but the Capital defense came up with a big stop on fourth down to force a turnover on downs. On the fourth down play, Malik Pettiford had a step but senior Eric Stroski (Concord, Ohio/Riverside) closed in and ripped the ball out before a catch could be completed in the corner of the end zone.
Wilmington's next drive landed them seven points to tie the game. Though the defense flushed Wilmington quarterback Luke Creditt out of the pocket for much of the drive, Creditt kept the drive alive and ended it with a one-yard touchdown pass to Tim Murphy.
Dar Stanford got the Capital fans on its feet again with a toe-tapping grab in the back of the end zone to get Capital back up on top, 13-7, midway through the second quarter. Starting with great field position, it took Cap just four plays to get to the five-yard line before Wibbeler hit Stanford in the back of the end zone. Stanford got his foot down after the catch before falling out of bounds, making for a good touchdown. The PAT was no good, but Capital had the lead.
Wilmington ended the half with a touchdown after Avery Wirt's punt was hit off the side of his foot and put the Quakers on the Cap 30-yard line. On one pass, Creditt leveled the score and the PAT put Wilmington ahead with by one point as the two teams headed into the half.
Capital's Blake Middleton (Miamisburg, Ohio/Miamisburg) hit his first collegiate field goal, a 25 yarder, at the end of the third quarter to give Capital a lead before the end of the third quarter. He went 1-for-2 on both field goal and PAT attempts.
Wibbeler finished the game with 251 passing yards on 18-for-28 passing. Wilmington's defense bottled up the run, though junior Nateshawn Hargrove led the Capital rushing attack with 37 yards on seven carries. He and Antwan Shipp earned a bulk of the work after Cory Heeter left the game in the third quarter with an injury. Combined, the running backs mounted 107 yards on the ground.
Barnett finished with 105 yards on seven catches, while Stanford reeled in four catches for 60 yards. Each scored one touchdown on passes from Wibbeler.
Capital's defense kept quarterback Luke Creditt running for much of the game, forcing him to throw on the run for much of the game. Creditt completed 18-of-30 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns, two going to PJ Meyer.
Junior linebacker Kane Murray (Warren, Ohio/Warren G. Harding) led the Cap defense with 11 total tackles. Defensive lineman James Zamor (Cape Coral, Fla./Cape Coral) continued to rack up tackles with seven against the Quakers.
Freshman Matthew Lauofo (Miamisburg, Ohio/Miamisburg) recorded his first collegiate sack in a key defensive stop late in the game.
Capital will regroup for its next opponent, arch rival Otterbein University, next Saturday on Homecoming Weekend. Capital and Otterbein will kick it off at 1:30 p.m. from inside Bernlohr Stadium on Purmort Field.