Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
BURLINGTON — Things were looking good for the Iowa Wesleyan football team at Bracewell Stadium on Saturday. The Tigers were up 32-16 in the third quarter against Trinity International, one extra point away from a three-score lead.
That’s when things went terribly wrong.
Trinity International blocked a point after attempt with 14:01 left in the third period, right after a 61-yard touchdown pass from Iowa Wesleyan quarterback Gavni Esquivel to running back Hezekiah Hunter. They returned that blocked kick for two points, the first two in a 33-0 run.
Trinity International defeated Iowa Wesleyan, 49-32, in the Tigers’ final nonconference game of the year. It was Iowa Wesleyan’s fourth loss to start the season.
“This loss is on me,” said Iowa Wesleyan head coach MD Daniels. “I feel like I let us get down, and I didn't do enough to get us back up.”
Trinity International held a 13-0 lead before the Tigers could blink. The Trojans scored on their first drive, picked off a pass on Iowa Wesleyan’s first offensive play and punched another in for a two-score lead less than four minutes into the game.
Iowa Wesleyan woke up in a big way over the next two periods. Iowa Wesleyan scored twice in the first quarter and twice in the second to take a 26-16 lead into the half.
The Tigers scored less than one minute into the second half. Esquivel’s deep ball hit Hunter along the Trinity International sideline, and he scampered to the end zone for what seemed to be an early nail in the coffin, but the Trojans had plenty of time to rise from the dead.
After the returned point after, Trinity International scored on a 44-yard rush from Javier Acosta. The Trojan defense got a pick six on the next Tiger drive, and it was 32-32 with 11:57 left in the third.
Trinity International took the lead on a 25-yard field goal midway through the third, scored on a 20-yard pass in the final minute of the period, and returned another interception for a touchdown in the first minute of the fourth.
“We started off hot at the beginning of the third quarter, and then we just let off the gas,” Daniels said.
Esquivel finished the night 25-for-49 for 254 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions. Hunter had eight catches for 116 yards and two scores, and also added 67 yards on the ground.
Kam Cole led the Tiger running game with 84 yards and two touchdowns. Damian Tanelus had the only other Tiger score, catching one touchdown from Esquivel.
Iowa Wesleyan will host Valley City State in its North Starr Athletic Conference opener next Saturday.