NORCROSS -- It may not have been a thing of beauty on the stat sheet, but it sure was on the scoreboard as Wesleyan knocked off Fellowship Christian 14-7 in a key 5-A North subregion game Friday night.
With the win, Wesleyan picked up its first subregion win of the season after falling to Holy Innocents' last week and moved to 3-2 overall at the halfway point of the regular season.
"Other than the fake punt we gave up, I thought our defense was fantastic because (Fellowship) was bigger than us up front and our kids really responded," said Wesleyan head coach Franklin Pridgen. "We were disciplined. We started two freshmen tonight and we made plays when we had to. I'm very, very proud of the way our kids played.
"Fellowship is much improved and Coach Chadwick has done a great job with them. But we really needed this win and we got it."
After a scoreless first quarter, Wesleyan put together a drive and got to the Fellowship 12. But Eric Sunderman missed a 29-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter.
Fellowship took over and drove 80 yards in 10 plays, scoring when quarterback Blais Furse plowed in from a yard out with 7:07 left in the second quarter.
The drive was kept alive by a fake punt that Fellowship pulled off near midfield as Tyler Hart raced 48 yards to the Wesleyan 3.
Turnovers became the common theme late in the first half, including one that set up Wesleyan's first score of the night.
After Sunderman -- playing quarterback for the second game in a row for injured Will Anderson -- was picked off in the end zone by Hart to kill a Wesleyan drive, Mason Colquitt came up with a fumble to put the Wolves back in business at the Paladins' 39 with 1:33 left in the half.
Three plays later, Sunderman found Rodney Morris for a 19-yard scoring pass that tied the game at 7-7 with just 46 seconds remaining.
Wesleyan actually had a chance to take the lead at the half following a fumble recovery by Miles Smith on Fellowship's first play after the kickoff.
But Sunderman missed his second field goal of the night -- this one from 36 yards as time expired in the half.
In the second half, it was all about the stifling Wesleyan defense and an opportunistic Wolves' offense that sealed the deal.
Fellowship (2-2,0-2) had the ball four times in the second half and never crossed midfield, thanks to a Wesleyan defense that held steady until the Wolves' offense put together a scoring drive.
But it was also another fake punt, this one by Wesleyan, that put the Wolves in business.
Facing fourth down near midfield early in the fourth quarter, Wesleyan rolled the dice and executed its own fake punt as Erik Gossett raced into the end zone for what appeared to be a go-ahead score.
But a holding penalty gave Wesleyan the ball at the Fellowship 25.
From there, Wesleyan took just three plays to score as Zander Yost banged in from four yards out with 8:46 remaining in the game.
That set the table for the Wesleyan defense, which twice stopped Fellowship on fourth down late in the game to preserve the win.
Sunderman finished the game 14 of 20 for 109 yards and one interception.
Yost caught seven of those passes for 55 yards.