Crusaders Ready for Home Opener Under the Lights

Capital (0-2, 1-0 OAC) and Heidelberg (1-0, 0-0 OAC) will square off at Bernlohr Stadium on Saturday at 7 p.m. (photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sport Photography)
Capital (0-2, 1-0 OAC) and Heidelberg (1-0, 0-0 OAC) will square off at Bernlohr Stadium on Saturday at 7 p.m. (photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sport Photography)

Capital Crusaders (0-2, 0-1 OAC) vs. Heidelberg Student Princes (1-0, 0-0 OAC)

Saturday, September 15, 7:00 pm  |  Purmort Field at Bernlohr Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)

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Capital notes (pdf)  |  Heidelberg notes (pdf)

Game program (.pdf)

Heidelberg (1-0, 0-0 OAC) are coming off of a bye week, but prior to that had defeated Olivet College, 21-17. The Student Princes will be featuring new faces at some impact positions, including starting quarterback, senior Trace Reynolds. In his first start, Reynolds served as a dual-threat hitting 14-of-25 targets for 178 yards and two touchdowns, plus he ran 17 times for 159 yards and a score. He also threw two picks in his debut. Sophomore Brandon Short took the most handoffs among the tailbacks, and the 5-9, 215-pound tailback went just 23 yards on eight carries. Braden Jerome returns as the most reliable target for The Berg. Last week he hauled in five catches for 101 yards and both receiving touchdowns.
Freshman LB Zachary Blackiston made a splash in his debut, earning OAC Defensive Player of the Week honors in week one after he made 16 tackles, 5.5 for a loss, and sacked the Olivet quarterback three times. The Berg's defense made five sacks altogether, the other two coming from sophomore DL Aidan Ammons. DB Tyler Freeman broke up three passes of Heidelberg's eight, and the defense as a unit made 11 stops behind the line.
All-American Austin Baker will handle all the kicking and punting duties. Last year, he hit 41-of-45 PATs and made 6-of-8 field goals.
The all-time series favors Heidelberg, 40-31-1. Heidelberg has won each of the last seven meetings dating back to 2011. Capital's last win against HU came in 2010 in a high-scoring affair, 60-50. Prior to that, Capital had won the previous 11 games against The Berg.
... the Crusaders had the season finale spoiled by Heidelberg as part of a 63-20 loss. Capital held a 13-7 lead after the first quarter of play after WR Dar Stanford made a 1-yard touchdown catch and QB Thomas Wibbeler ran another in from eight yards out, but then The Berg scored 35 unanswered points via four passing touchdowns, three going to graduated WR Demetrius Magee. 
Capital has a strong duo to lead the team into Saturday gamedays. The following individuals will serve as captains this season, as voted on by the team:
#13 Cory Heeter, RB, Sr.
#17 Thomas Wibbeler, QB, Sr.
In week one at Mount St. Joseph (9/1), junior WR David Barnett made a career-high 10 catches and racked up 100 yards. It marked the seventh time in his career he has hit 100 receiving yards or more in a single game. He did so three times in 2016 and three more in 2017. Side note: he also made two TD grabs in the game, marking the sixth multi-TD game of his career.
While week 1 was good, week 2 was GREAT for David Barnett. Against Marietta (9/8) the senior hauled in a NEW career-high 12 catches and 225 yards through the air and had one touchdown, too. For those counting at home, that is now eight 100+ yard games for Barnett and his first 200-yard receiving game. The last Crusader to hit 200 yards receiving was Ryan Gunnarson versus Heidelberg on Oct. 2, 2010 (232 yards).
Senior QB Thomas Wibbeler's 500-yard passing game took down a CU record that stood for more than a decade. The previous record for passing yards in a single game was held by Dan Bartholomew. In 2001, Bartholomew threw for 476 yards against rival Otterbein. However, Wibbeler is your new single-game passing record holder after he slung for 511 yards against Marietta (9/8). The last time that a Capital quarterback hit 400 yards passing was Marty Assmann (pronounced AWS-man) versus Wilmington on Sept. 27, 2008 when he tossed for 454 yards. 
In case you just saw the game result and checked out, you missed a career performance by QB Thomas Wibbeler. He passed for 511 yards and five touchdowns (0 interceptions), then ran 19 times for 85 yards and one touchdown. That's a lot of yards and points. For his effort, he was named to the Team of the Week on Wednesday, Sept. 11. He was the first Crusaders to earn that honor since WR Evan Blake did so in 2007.
Don't forget about the special teamers! Sophomore kicker Blake Middleton was named OAC Special Team Player of the Week on Sept. 9. He kicked a new career-long 35-yard field goal in the loss to the Pioneers on Saturday. He also converted 5-of-6 point-after-touchdown tries, including five straight over the course of the game.
When junior WR/P Wyatt Pertuset arrived on Capital's campus in 2016, the Richwood, Ohio native shared with his new teammates that he is openly gay. His teammates, in true #CapFam fashion, welcomed him still and have been tremendously supportive. To Pertuset, being him is no big deal, but he made history in week one of the college football season when he scored his first career touchdown, and the first touchdown for a community that continues to fight for acceptance.
On Sept. 1, 2018 it was reported by that with his 37-yard touchdown reception at the end of the first quarter was the first reported touchdown of any kind scored by an openly gay football player in NCAA Football, at any level. The celebratory moment was monumental for Pertuset personally for his athletic career, but for the impact he hopes to make towards other LGBTQ athletes locally and afar.
Junior Wyatt Pertuset came to Capital as a wide receiver. As a sophomore, he was asked to double up and become Capital's punter, a position he also played in high school (North Union High School). He then missed his sophomore season with a lis franc fracture in his foot. Now he is back as a junior, ready to go. In his first action since his freshman year, Pertuset caught his first career touchdown pass at Mount St. Joseph (9/1) and finished with three grabs for 53 yards. He also had five punts with two landing inside the 20-yard line.
Sophomore LB Michael Lauofo has made a splash since becoming a regular starter on the Capital defense. Last week he set a new career high with 15 total tackles, eight of those solo, in the Crusaders' loss to Marietta. He nearly picked off two Marietta passes and also was in on a stop behind the line of scrimmage.
On Thursday, Sept. 13, Capital Athletics announced its Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2018. We would like to congratulate all six of our inductees, whom will be honored on Homecoming Weekend at CU's home football game and later on the evening of Sept. 29. 
Congratulations to ...
Jake Beck '05 (men's basketball)
Rocky Pentello '07 (football)
Matt Spitz '08 (football)
Amanda Carroll-Dingess '04 (softball)
Ron Swearingin '04 (football)
Kyle Hausler '06 (football)
More information can be found at
Following week one, Capital was one of just 39 Division III football teams to not commit a turnover. They committed their first turnover last week at Marietta (9/8), but they are still ranked 18th in the country in turnovers lost
It's been a minute since Cap has scored 50 points in a game. Last week they posted 50 at Marietta. It must be the water in the river, because the last time CU hit 50 points was at Marietta on Nov. 15, 2014 (56).
Senior Thomas Wibbeler is back for his third year as Cap's starting quarterback. Despite the numbers, which earned him second team All-OAC honors in 2017, it hasn't come easy. Wibbeler transferred from Ohio Dominican (Division II) after limited playing time. In his first year with Cap, he sustained a season-ending knee injury against John Carroll (10/22/16). Prior to the injury, Wibbeler completed 114-of-214 passes (53.3%) for 1,556 yards and 11 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He became just the third (and now fourth) CU quarterback to hit 1,500 yards passing in a single season since 2003. In his return to the lineup in the 2017 season opener against Mount St. Joseph, he went 21-for-42 for 261 yards with three touchdown passes and three interceptions. He reunited with former high school (and ODU) teammate Dar Stanford and with his help went on to toss for 2,813 yards, 29 TDs and 9 INTs.
Senior QB Thomas Wibbeler had one of the best seasons for a Capital quarterback in nearly a decade, as a junior in 2017. 
(single season, 2017)
5th in passing yards - 2,813 yards
2nd in passing TDs - 27 (1st, Rocky Pentello, 36)
6th in completions - 216
He has already tied the school record for TD passes in a game (6) set by Shawn Wheeler in 1999. He is also tied for the sixth-longest pass play in school history (75 yards).
In 2016, senior QB Thomas Wibbeler became just the third Capital quarterback to reach 1,500 yards passing. That mark was reached just before he endured a season-ending injury against John Carroll in game six of the season. Last season against BW, Wibbeler became the first 2,000 yard passer since Marty Assman (2,382 yards, 2009). He finished the year with 2,813 yards, 29 passing touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Those are the best numbers for a Capital quarterback since 2010 when Chase Carris threw for 1,905 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 picks. 
What makes a quarterback happy? More weapons to throw to! Dartavious (Dar) Stanford joined the Crusaders prior to the 2017 season after playing the last two years at nearby Ohio Dominican University (NCAA Division II) as a wide receiver. At ODU in 2016, he was the Panthers' second-leading receiver after making 60 grabs for 687 yards and four touchdowns. 
In his Capital debut, Stanford made four catches for 70 yards and recorded his first touchdown grab with Cap in the team's loss to Mount St. Joseph on Sept. 2. He finished the year with seven straight games with 100+ yards receiving and eight overall. He has found the end zone in each of the last five games and 12 times overall this season. He was held without a touchdown grab in just one game in 2017.
Sophomore kicker Blake Middleton made 18 consecutive PATs in his debut season and went 30-for-33 overall. After missing his first PAT versus Marietta (9/8), he came back and hit five straight (plus a 35-yard field goal) to start a new streak.
Senior RB Cory Heeter will return to the Capital sidelines for a fifth year after missing most of the 2017 season due to an arm injury sustained against Wilmington College on 9/23/17. To open the 2017 season on Sept. 2, Heeter racked up 171 total yards, 85 of those on the ground on 16 touches. He then came back versus the Muskies on 9/16 and tallied 99 yards on the ground, which helped him eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in his career. 
Capital is welcoming 42 new Crusaders to the team as the 2018 season opens. This includes 39 freshmen, two transfers and one newcomer to the program. Defensive backs Avery Sylvester (JR) and Mike Smith (FR) transferred into Capital while senior OL Courtney Mays joined the program in the offseason. Sylvester comes to Capital from Iowa Wesleyan University while Smith joins the team from nearby Ohio Dominican University (Division II). He is now the third ODU transfer to join Capital on the current roster.
It's not often that one town or one high school can provide a college team such a significant portion of a team's offense (or defense for that matter). This year, Zanesville and Hilliard are two nearby cities that will have a major impact on Capital's starting lineup, all on the offensive side of the ball.
QB Thomas Wibbeler and WR Dar Stanford go back to their youth days throwing and catching passes to one another. Both are from Zanesville, Ohio and played on the Zanesville High School football team that advance all the way to the final four of the 2013 state championship.
The CU offensive line will feature not one, not two, but THREE Hilliard Darby High School graduates. Sophomores Josh Boyle and Nick Russell both earned starting nods in their second seasons while center Logan Hernon is now in his second season as the team's starting center.
Thank goodness for numbers on jerseys or you may not be able to tell apart two sets of twins that are on the Capital football team. Sophomores Michael (LB) and Matthew (DL) Lauofo make it even more difficult being on the same side of the ball. Seniors Cory (DL) and Courtney (OL) Mays line it up in the trenches, but on opposite sides. Michael Lauofo and Cory Mays look to serve as starters for Cap to begin the season.
A couple of Capital's players made some changes in their game and their positions in the offseason. 
SO Kobe Swackhammer, LB to DL
r-SO Jake Elsayed, CB to S
JR Kole Carter, DB to LB
JR Will Futrell, DL to OL
Capital's coaching staff brought a big man with some big-time experience to the table. Keith Rucker, an NFL veteran that played six years professionally, was hired to handle the defensive line. Rucker was named All-American 14 times over the course of his collegiate career at Ohio Wesleyan as both a football player and a thrower on the OWU track & field team. He is also serving as the throws coach on Capital's track & field team. 
Five Capital football players earned All-OAC honors after last year's season. After a phenomenal debut year, WR Dar Stanford was tabbed first team honors, marking the first time a Capital player earned that high of an honor since 2011 (LB Troy Spiker, WR Matt White). QB Thomas Wibbeler earned second team laurels after putting up the best numbers for a CU quarterback in nearly a decade. Recent graduate and offensive lineman Zack Kennedy '18 was named second team, as well. CB LaShaun Sanders Jr. and WR David Barnett each earned All-OAC Honorable Mention.
At this year's OAC Football Media Day, the coaches and media member were polled to see their views on how they believe the season will play out. Capital Football was tabbed to finish ninth by the coaches, and the media.
Polls are just polls, but here they are:
COACHES: 1. Mount Union (81, 9), 2. JCU (73, 1), 3. Ohio Northern (61), 4. Baldwin Wallace (56), 5. Heidelberg (49), 6. Marietta (44), 7. Otterbein (32), 8. Wilmington (22), 9. Capital (19), 
10. Wilmington (13).
MEDIA: 1. Mount Union (310, 31), 2. JCU (274), 3. Ohio Northern (223), 4. Heidelberg (206), 5. Baldwin Wallace (205), 6. Marietta (149), 
7. Otterbein (140), 8. Muskingum (75), 9. Capital (74), 10. Wilmington (49).
For complete coverage from media day, including interviews with SR wide receiver Dar Stanford, SR quarterback Thomas Wibbeler, plus Head Coach Chad Rogosheske, please visit: