NORCROSS - The Wesleyan Wolves missed the playoffs for the first time in
seven years, but none of that mattered Friday in an emotional 44-14
victory on senior night.
"Emotions were higher than they have ever been tonight," said senior
Matt Karempelis, a leader and playmaker for the Wesleyan Wolves.
As the Wolves finished their campaign at 5-5 (4-4 in 6-AA), the lowly
Walker Wolverines ended at a disappointing 2-8 (2-6 in 6-AA). As the
night got colder and colder, the offense for the Wolves, namely the
seniors, got hotter and hotter.
The first quarter was completely dominated by Wesleyan on both sides of
the ball. Not only did the hosts open up the game with a 44-yard run by
Karempelis, but the defense did not allow a single first down in the
entire quarter. Two plays after his first carry, Karempelis finished the
job with a one-yard touchdown run.
James Ramsey, another senior and fresh off accepting a baseball
scholarship to Florida State on Thursday night, took the ball 11 yards
to the end zone to give the Wolves a two-touchdown lead in the first
Quarterback Brent Pugh came out playing very well as he went 5 of 6
passing for 101 yards and a touchdown until he went down in the second
half due to injury, although he did remain on the sideline. Pugh
returned for part of the second half but the coaches feared a concussion
and sat him for most of the remaining time.
After Pugh came out, the majority of quarterback was played by Andrew
Ferking, a sophomore who played just as good as any senior. On his first
three passes, Ferking gathered three completions for 43 yards, showing
no rust or jitters at all.
The Walker offense only produced two first downs in the entire opening
The second half was more of the same as the seniors continued to play
with reckless abandon. Derren Evans had 86 yards rushing on five carries
with a touchdown, Kevin Ruiz picked off Taylor Cook in the fourth
quarter and Karempelis would finish with 123 yards with two touchdowns
on 11 carries.
"We just wanted to win the game more than anything," Karempelis said.
"We just wanted to leave it all on the field. We thought there would be
playoffs but we finished with a win."
Head coach Franklin Pridgen acknowledged that fact as well.
"It was bitter sweet," said Pridgen. "We didn't think it would end like
this, with no playoffs. But it is nice to send all of (the seniors) off
When asked about how his seniors played, Pridgen said: "It could not
have ended better all things considered. We got all of them in the game
and a bunch of different guys scored ... it was great. Matt Karempelis
played particularly well."
Wesleyan ....14.. 16.... 14... 0 - 44
Walker ..........0.... 7...... 0 ...7 - 14
-Wesleyan: Matt Karempelis 1 run (Spencer Short kick) 8:47
-Wesleyan: James Ramsey 11 run (Short kick) 2:27
-Wesleyan: Brent Pugh 50 pass to Zac Johnston (Short kick) 11:18
-Wesleyan: Nick Sissine 24 run (Short kick missed) 6:54
-Walker: Taylor Cook 34 pass to John Carr (Andreas Wilder kick) 4:30
-Wesleyan: Sissine 20 FG 5.4
-Wesleyan: Derren Evans 5 run (Sissine kick) 9:16
-Wesleyan: Karempelis 38 run (Sissine kick) 5:40
-Walker: Cook 15 run (Wilder kick) 11.6