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Wesleyan rides big third-quarter to comeback win

Wesleyan's Jahmai Jones (5)

Wesleyan's Jahmai Jones (5)

AVONDALE ESTATES -- Following a sluggish first half, Wesleyan stormed back in the second half for a 30-19 win over Stone Mountain in a non-region football game on Friday.

Leading the way for the Wolves (2-1) in the game was Jahmai Jones, who had three touchdown catches from quarterback Will Anderson in the second half.

"Coach (Franklin) Pridgen gave us an inspirational speech at halftime," Jones said. "That along with some adjustments for better pass protection gave us the boost we needed."

Stone Mountain struck first in the second quarter after being pinned down by a Wolves punt at its own 8-yard line. The Pirates put together a long scoring drive with Stephen Sheppard scoring on a 10-yard run.

Down 7-0 at halftime, Wesleyan started a third-quarter scoring barrage with a 45-yard scoring pass from Anderson to Jones that tied the game. Receiver Jaye Rochell also caught a 30-yard pass from Anderson to keep the scoring drive alive.

Stone Mountain's next possession began at the Pirate 1-yard line. Rhett Delk then tackled Pirate running back Arlonzo Simpson in the end zone for a safety, giving the Wolves a 9-7 lead.

The Wolves' next scoring drive started at midfield following a short punt by the Pirates. Jones and Anderson quickly hooked up for a 41-yard TD pass to give the Wolves a 16-7 lead.

On their next possession, the Wolves set up shop on the Pirate 31-yard line following a very short punt. Anderson then hit Jones over the middle again on a 31-yard scoring pass, increasing the Wesleyan lead to 23-7 with 22 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

The Pirates roared back on a 74-yard TD run by Jordan Collier as the third quarter expired. The scoring run cut the Wesleyan lead to 23 13.

The Wolves took control of the game following an interception by defensive back Christian Stark at the Pirate 40-yard line. Brandon Gilliam scored on 5-yard run, capping off a time-consuming drive and giving the Wolves a 30-13 lead late in the fourth quarter.

"This is a huge win for us with a defining second half," Pridgen said. "It is a character-defining win for our team against a very talented football team. We made some halftime adjustments that paid off big for us in the second half."

Jones led the Wolves in receiving with four catches for 123 yards. Quarterback Will Anderson also had a good night, going 11 for 19 passing for 172 yards. Miles Smith lead the Wolves with 95 yards rushing on 26 carries.