Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
MT. PLEASANT — Saturday at Mapleleaf Athletic Complex saw the Iowa Wesleyan defense put together one of its best performances of all time. The Tigers simply dominated Finlandia University, blasting the Lions 55-0 for their second-straight blowout victory.
Not only did Iowa Wesleyan shut out Finlandia, but the Tigers held the Lions to a net negative yards on offense. The Tigers allowed 12 yards through the air. On the ground, Finlandia lost 119. That left the Lions’ total offensive out put to a grand total of -107 yards.
“All credit to the coaching staff and the players,” said Iowa Wesleyan head coach MD Daniels. “The first two games we lose by four and then in quadruple overtime, and these guys were super hungry, the coaches and players, to get back and work.”
The scoring started out with a bang, as a struggling Finlandia offense coughed it up on a bad snap, and after a lengthy roll, Iowa Wesleyan linebacker Major Niccum scooped the ball up and ran it 69 yards to the end zone for a score.
“It came right to me,” Niccum said. “I saw the ball in the air, was running after it. The ball gets fumbled one more time, so I’m going get to it.”
Iowa Wesleyan’s Zach Chevalier threw touchdown pass after touchdown pass in the first half. His longest, a 34-yarder to Asaivien McWilliams, made it 14-0 late in the first quarter.
Iowa Wesleyan kicker Lucas Mosqueda hit a field goal early in the second to raise the lead to 14-0. Chevalier threw three more touchdown passes in the second period, hitting Jaden Harris on a 14-yard pass and a 6-yard pass, which sandwiched a 7-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Battle.
As the rain came down on Mapleleaf Athletic Complex, the Tigers went into the locker room with a 38-0 advantage.
The Tigers scored 17 more points in the second half. Mosqueda nailed his second kept rolling in the second half. Tyler Ball made the special teams play of the day with a 65-yard punt return, and after Mosqueda’s extra point, it was 45-0 Tigers.
“All props to Coach MD,” said Ball. “He set the scheme up perfectly. He told me to bounce it outside and once it’s outside, it’s there.”
The Tigers closed the scoring out with a nine-yard pass from Gavin Esquivel to JC Gill and a 35-yard field goal by Travis Fossum.
Iowa Wesleyan’s defense ended the day with 22 tackles for loss, including the 11 sacks. The Tigers forced five fumbles and recovered four of them.
Nickum and Jerich Givens coled the defense with eight tackles apiece, and both had a forced fumble. Keyshawn Mosley and Kaylan Galvao each forced a fumble. Niccum, Anthony Morrison, Deacon Steadman and Aiden Williams all had fumble recoveries.
Chevalier finished 12-for-26 for 146 yards and four touchdowns. Harris led the receiving group with six catches for 46 yards and two scores.
Stafford Lewis had 73 yards rushing to lead the ground game.
Iowa Wesleyan now goes into North Star Athletic Conference play with a 2-2 record. The Tigers play at Dakota State University (1-2) this Saturday at 4 p.m.
“I think our team is put together well,” said Daniels. “Credit to our coaching staff, because they did such a great job at recruiting and getting the pieces that we need to make a run in the North Star.”