WILMINGTON — Marietta College forced five turnovers in a 35-7 Ohio Athletic Conference victory Saturday over the Wilmington College football team at Townsend Field.
The Pioneers had trouble with the opening kickoff, and as a result, began the first drive of the game from their five-yard line. The Fightin’ Quaker defense forced a three-and-out, but the offense couldn’t take advantage of the field position, which started in Marietta territory, as the visitors broke up a pass on fourth-and-six.
Marietta drove into Wilmington territory on its second possession, but the Quaker defense mirrored the last possession, as Sam Harding broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth-and-eight. On the ensuing possession, the hosts crossed midfield, but the drive stalled. The Pioneers opened the scoring just before the first quarter ended, to cap a seven-play, 51-yard drive.
Trailing 7-0, Wilmington once again moved the sticks into Marietta territory, but a sack on third down forced a punt. The Quakers’ punter, Aaron Pardo, mishandled the snap and was tackled before getting a punt off. One play later, Connor Vierstra connected with Logan Ranft for a 42-yard touchdown.
That would be the first of several mistakes for Wilmington on the afternoon. A Derek Larimer interception ended the Quakers’ next offensive possession, but the defense didn’t allow a score. Eventually, Marietta got the ball on its own 19-yard line and drove 81-yards in nine plays to go up 21-0 in the final minute of the first half.
Two more touchdowns, one of which came off of a WC fumble, from the Pioneers in the third quarter put the Pioneers up 35-0. The Quakers wouldn’t be shutout for the second consecutive week, however. The host’s defense had been close to breaking up the wide receiver screen pass most of the game, and Quentin Davis jumped one for an interception. After an incompletion, Derek Larimer connected with Itika Wynn Jr. three straight times with the final one being a 13-yard touchdown strike. That score proved to be the final points of the game for either side.
Marietta finished with 364 yards of offense with 201 coming through the air and 163 on the ground. Wilmington ran 69 plays for 242 total yards, 216 of which were of the passing variety. The Pioneers also held advantages in time of possession (by just over 10 minutes), third-down efficiency (by just over 10 percent) and turnover (5-1).
Individually for Marietta, Vierstra completed 15-of-22 passes for 201 yards and five scores to three different receivers. Running back Bryce Agnew carried 24 times for 134 yards while Ranft led the team in reception yards (77) with both his catches going for touchdowns. Defensively, Vic Giovengo and Kyler Folkert both had seven tackles while Kyle Gallagher had two tackles for loss, one of which was a sack.
Larimer completed 23-of-38 passes for 216 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Tyreeq Nebbitt was the team’s leading rusher with 26 yards while Wynn Jr. caught a dozen passes for 124 yards and the one touchdown. Defensively, Tre’Quez Parks tallied 13 tackles, nine of the solo variety, while a trio of Quakers – Xzerious Stinnett, Jarod Lee and Brandon Weaver – all had eight tackles. Joey Weikel got to the quarterback for the squad’s one sack of the game.
Wilmington heads to Baldwin Wallace University next weekend.