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Wesleyan invades GSC for homecoming

GLENVILLE — Homecoming is always a good time to play your best game.

First-year Glenville State College head football coach Mike Kellar is hoping his Pioneers do just that come 1 p.m. today inside Morris Stadium when West Virginia Wesleyan invades in a Mountain East Conference tilt.

The G-men (3-3, 2-3) enter the fray seventh in the conference standings while the Bobcats (1-5, 1-4) of head man Tony Testa are one spot behind.

After trailing Urbana 31-10 last Saturday, the Pioneers scored twice in the final 7:01 thanks to an Austin Ratliff 87-yard kickoff return and his 9-yard scoring strike from Jaylen McNair.

Wesleyan fell in its homecoming game last week 35-13 to Frostburg State, but coach Testa got season-highs of 12 rushes and 61 yards from Lawrence Brown. Also, wideout Kenny Lewis Jr. made a successful return from injury and finished with six catches for 109 yards and a score. Signal-caller Jarrett Northrop hit 20 of 32 for 234 yards with the one touchdown and one pick.

“Morale is good,” admitted Kellar, who watched Tim Heltzel go 12 of 25 for 104 yards and McNair 9 of 12 for 71 yards last week. “Our program has been win one week, lose the next for so long. I don’t want to say they accept it, but they know how to handle it.

“I don’t think anyone is happy that you go to Urbana and you lose. There were some positives in that game we’re trying to build upon, but there were a lot of negatives in the game.”

GSC continues to struggle with running the ball. Versus Urbana, the Pioneers had 53 yards on two dozen attempts and converted just one third down opportunity in 12 chances.

“I told the players Wesleyan is coming here a confident football team,” Kellar added. “I’ve watched them on video. They can throw the ball around the park a decent amount, got a nice running game and their defense is a schematic nightmare.

“They do things on ‘D’ we haven’t seen this year. They are coming here thinking we got Glenville, they are coming off a loss and this is a team we can beat. That is 100 percent where their mindset is at. I’m trying to tell my team you want to come out, execute, play well and live up to your standard of play.”

Former Point Pleasant High School all-stater Grant Safford leads the Bobcat defense with six tackles for loss and three sacks.

The Pioneers have hit paydirt just once offensively the past three games, but has managed to score a quartet of defensive touchdowns and twice on special teams in that span.

Delonte Hood, who is tied for first nationally in passes defended, ranks second in the country with six interceptions. Fellow defensive back Jansen King has broken up eight passes while Samuel Thomas leads the G-men with three sacks. JT Ngangum has 2.5 sacks and Dom Cizauskas, whose six tackles for loss leads the team, has a pair of sacks. Pioneer Chris McSweeney is second on the team with 5.5 TFLs.

Wesleyan currently leads the all-time series 34-33-2.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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