BEXLEY, Ohio — The Wilmington College football team saw its 14-point lead evaporate in the second half, but quarterback Adam Dixon led a perfect two-minute drill and connected with Itika Wynn Jr. for the game-winning touchdown as the Fightin’ Quaker escaped Bernlohr Stadium with a 34-31 victory over Capital University in Ohio Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon.
The victory marked WC’s fourth straight over the Comets and gives the Quakers a 3-1 record. Aditionally, it’s the best start to a season since 2000, the program’s first year in the OAC.
Capital went up 31-28 late in the fourth quarter. The Wilmington offense, which didn’t muster much in the fourth quarter, got the ball back with 75 yards to go and 1:32 left. Dixon used his receiving core and the sidelines to move the ball into Capital territory, and on 2nd-and-3 from the Capital 34-yard line, Dixon launched a ball deep down the sideline that Wynn Jr. ran under for the game-winning score.
“Adam Dixon is a competitor,” said WC head coach Corey Fillipovich. “He is improving with each rep and each game. Coach Thomas and Coach Skibba made some adjustments in protection at halftime and the offensive line executed well.”
The Quakers outgained the Comets 517-310 and the WC offensive line did not allow a sack in the second half. Capital was able to pin WC back near its own end zone multiple times and took advantage of short fields to nearly pull out the victory.
“The wind played a bigger part of the game than we expected, and their punter was a weapon for them,” Fillipovich said. “We just kept with our game plan on the sideline and eventually came out on top!”
Dixon finished 22-of-49 for 435 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Lathan Jones hauled in five passes for 185 yards and two scores while Wynn Jr. and Gavin Foushee, who both caught touchdowns, both had at least five receptions for at least 80 yards. Running back Nehemiah Jenkins carried 17 times for 79 yards.
Defensively, Joey Weikel had 10 tackles, a sack and a pass breakup while Lee and nine tackles and the interception. Xzerious Stinnett, Jake Sheriff and Austin Aiello all had a least a half-dozen tackles while Luke Wroten had two sacks on the day.
Wilmington will host John Carroll University 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Quakers, who overcame poor field position all afternoon, began the game on their own 5 thanks to a penalty on the kickoff return. Diixon connected with Ace Taylor on three completions on the first drive, but a sack, Capital’s first of five in the first half, stalled the drive in the red zone. Seth Best calmly converted a 23-yard field goal for the first points of the game.
After Capital went up 7-3, Wilmington didn’t trail long, however, as Dixon hit Wynn Jr. for a 35-yard strike on the first play of the ensuing drive. Dixon capped by created just enough time scrambling to his right to find Foushee in the corner of the end zone and WC took a 10-7 lead in to the intermission.
Capital didn’t move the chains on its first possession of the second half, and Dixon made them pay, hooking up with Jones, who entered the game as the OAC Offensive Player of the Week averaging 44.7 yards per reception, for a 59-yard touchdown strike.
After a Comets touchdown, another Seth Beth field goal, setup by a Jarod Lee interception, put the visitors up 20-14. After another defensive stop, Dixon went up top to Jones again for a 42-yard touchdown.
Trailing 27-14 as the fourth quarter began, the Comets, on their Homecoming Weekend, rallied. The hosts took advantage of two short punts to score two touchdowns, the latter being a 22-yard quarterback keeper to take a 28-27 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Another Capital defensive stop followed, and another short punt setup the hosts at their own 44 with a chance to run out the clock. Wilmington looked to have Harrison-Rawn wrapped up on 4th-and-3, but the quarterback scampered out and gained a first down to the Quaker 21. Wilmington used all of its timeouts, and forced the field goal attempt which put the WC offense back on the field for the game-winning score.