The Wesleyan Wolves are halfway through the regular season and remain undefeated with a record of 5-0 after a crucial victory last Friday over Pace Academy. Friday’s game had been highly anticipated since before the season even began, and Wesleyan put in plenty of preparation knowing that Pace would present one of the season’s toughest challenges. Wesleyan showed strong support with fans wearing pink in recognition of the GHSA sanctioned breast cancer awareness week, and the game was selected as the “Fox 5 Game of the Week.”
A light, steady rain fell on the field at Henderson Stadium, and just as the Pace Knights prepared to receive the ball, the lights went out, delaying kickoff for 25 minutes while the issue was resolved. When the lights came back on, senior Jordan Weaver booted the ball into the end zone for a touchback.
The Knights offense started off with a few first downs, but failed to move the ball past midfield, partially due to a holding penalty. Penalties have been a weakness for Pace all season, and would allow the Wolves to make a stop and bring out the offense. Wesleyan also could not score on their first drive, so the Knights got the ball back on the 20. After a long, steady drive, Samuel Sloman made a 32 yard field goal putting Pace ahead by 3 with the first score of the game.
Wesleyan responded with a dynamic attack on offense. Sophomore quarterback Banks Ramsey made a few completions to senior Tucker Cannon, and the drive was highlighted by a 65 yard run from senior Jordan Argilagos. Argilagos showed some impressive speed, but was dragged down by a horse collar at the two yard line. Ramsey punched the ball in on a keeper the following play. The PAT was no good, and the Wolves went ahead 6-3.
After the half, Wesleyan received the ball and put together another solid drive on offense. Ramsey put a well thrown ball in the hands of junior Harrison Cook for a 35 yard completion. Ramsey later scored on another one yard keeper. After another failed PAT, the Wolves moved the score to 12-3.
The Knights’ next possession provided an opportunity for the Wesleyan defense to show its versatility. Senior Cole Mannion has brought experience and leadership to the Wolves’ secondary this year. In regards to the defensive effort against Pace, Mannion said, “Our defense did a really good job of first stopping the run and then shutting down the pass game. We also were great at containing their scrambling quarterback.” Senior Kevin Stipe ended the Knights’ drive with an interception returned for a touchdown. The Knights stopped Wesleyan’s two point conversion attempt, and the score was 18-3.
Pace refused to give up and managed to score once more with an 80 yard run by Deon Jackson at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was a stalemate and did not yield points for either team. The Wolves’ defense continued to shutdown Pace, and a couple of long drives on offense took time off the clock. After a huge win, Wesleyan will carry its momentum into an easier matchup next week away against Hapeville.