Wesleyan's Drew Aspinwall
WASHINGTON — Wesleyan’s road trip Friday evening to visit Washington-Wilkes in the first round of the Class AA playoffs didn’t end too well.
Although the Wolves (3-8) had an extra week to prepare for Washington-Wilkes (11-0), they could not quite stop the dynamic Tiger offense, which scored frequently in the 46-14 victory. Youthful Wesleyan saw its season end, but not without a few positives.
“We have a young and developing team,” Wesleyan head coach Franklin Pridgen said. “We will continue to become bigger and stronger during the offseason. Tonight our offensive execution was very good from our sophomores and freshmen.”
Tiger quarterback DeAndre Harris found the end zone from two yards out to open the scoring for Washington-Wilkes, which took an early 7-0 lead.
The Wolves came to play however, tying the game at seven after a four-minute drive on their second possession. Harrison Cook hauled in a 15-yard TD pass from Wolves quarterback Drew Aspinwall with 3:53 remaining in the first to even things up.
The Tigers again returned to their rushing attack as Jevoris Grant led the offense down the field before breaking away for a 15-yard touchdown run with 2:02 left in the first quarter.
Kyler Duley almost broke free on the ensuing kickoff but was dragged down after a dangerous 21-yard return. The Tiger defense eventually forced a punt to end the drive.
Washington-Wilkes began to pull away in the second quarter mixing in several screen passes that gashed the Wolves’ defense in addition to the running game.
Ty Pender broke multiple tackles and spinning past another defender before breaking loose for a 30-yard touchdown reception and run just under a minute into the second quarter giving the Tigers a 20-7 lead with 11:10 left in the half. The Wolves’ special teams capitalized with a strong push from the right side of the line to block the extra point attempt.
The Tigers returned to the air, finding a cutting Devarious Smith for a 32-yard TD reception with 5:58 left in the second quarter for a 27-7 Tiger lead.
The Wolves took a 13-play drive down the field before halftime but on fourth down a 29-yard field goal attempt by Jordan Weaver sailed wide right.
In the third quarter, DeAndre Harris extended the Tiger lead to 33-7 after a one yard run that was set up by a deep pass down the left sideline with 8:54 left.
Jacquavious Blackburn then found the end zone for the Tigers on the next drive from three yards out for a 40-7 Washington-Wilkes lead.
In the fourth quarter, fullback J.T Smith scored from five yards out for a 46-7 lead for the Tigers with 9:32 remaining.
The Wolves finished strong on offense with a five-yard passing touchdown from Aspinwall to Kyler Duley with 1:36 remaining in the game for the final score by either team.
Aspinwall finished the game with two passing touchdowns and 215 yards passing in an offense that will also return Tucker Cannon, Kyler Duley and Harrison Cook at wide receiver next season.
Kevin Stipe led the Wolves’ defense with six tackles during the game.
Wesleyan 7 0 0 7 - 14
Washington-Wilkes 14 13 13 6 - 46
Washington-Wilkes: DeAndre Harris two run 7:32 (Shelton kick)
Wesleyan: Harrison Cook 15 pass from Drew Aspinwall 3:53 (Weaver kick)
Washington-Wilkes: Javoris Grant 15 run 2:02 (Shelton kick)
Washington-Wilkes: Ty Pender 30 pass from Harris 11:10 (kick failed)
Washington-Wilkes: Devarious Smith 32 pass from Harris 5:58 (Shelton kick)
Washington-Wilkes: Harris one run 8:54 (kick failed)
Washington-Wilkes: Jacqavious Blackburn three run 4:57 (Shelton kick)
Washington-Wilkes: J.T Smith five run 9:32 (kick failed)
Wesleyan: Kyler Duley five pass from Aspinwall 1:36 (Weaver kick)