Wade Steinlage, Sports Information Director
OSKALOOSA –Windy conditions and missed opportunities doomed the William Penn football team as it fell 26-20 to Peru State in double overtime of a Heart of America Athletic Conference matchup Saturday.
WPU (3-5, 1-1 North) scored the day’s first 17 points, but could not put away the Bobcats (3-5, 1-1 North) and was forced into its first overtime contest since 2015–also a double-overtime loss.
With wind gusts near 40 mph, both sides had to scheme around the conditions. PSC decided to kick the ball to the Statesmen to open the contest and the hosts took advantage, marching 65 yards with Tyler Wood (Jr., Newton, Iowa, Education) capping the drive on a one-yard plunge to make it 7-0 just 4:52 into the showdown.
On its ensuing possession, the home team played quite a game of Keep Away, holding the ball for over 12 minutes on a 94-yard drive. The drive did not net any points, though, as a run on 4th-and-3 from the PSC three-yard line was unsuccessful.
Hunter Behm (Jr., West Haven, Utah, Mechanical Engineering), with the wind at his back in the second quarter, was able to add points with a 35-yard field goal. The navy and gold then upped the advantage to 17-0 on their next possession as Wood hit paydirt from six yards out.
Unfortunately, Peru State posted the longest play of the day–a 72-yard run–to get on the board right before intermission.
Behm, with that stiff northerly breeze still behind him, tried to get some of those points back, but his 55-yard try failed to split the uprights and WPU led 17-6 at the break.
A turnover (the only one of the day) in its own territory led to the Bobcats cutting the Statesmen edge to 17-13 in the third stanza. The Statesmen offense continued to struggle, while the visitors found their groove, establishing their first lead at the start of the fourth period at 20-17.
Highlighted by a 27-yard completion from Wood to Tyler Phillips (Sr., Altus, Okla., Physical Education), coupled by a personal foul penalty, the hosts got into good enough field position for Behm to try his third field goal of the matchup. This one–a 39-yarder–was good and the game was tied at 20-20 with 7:26 to go in regulation.
Wood was 2-for-8 through the air for 67 yards. Hunter Anfinsen (Sr., Farmington, Utah) had the other reception of the day for 40 yards.
Neither side could add points over the next few minutes and then Mother Nature took a lead role once again, causing PSC’s punt with just 45 seconds left to fly just eight yards, giving WPU excellent field position at the visitors’ 31-yard line.
The Statesmen, who were without any timeouts, inched nine yards closer on two rushes. With the final seconds ticking off, Behm and the kicking crew darted onto the field to attempt a 39-yarder as time expired, but the ball sailed wide to the left and overtime ensued.
Peru State’s drive in the opening extra session stalled out, leaving the door open for WPU to win with any kind of score. The home team converted on a third down and moved all the way to the three-yard line, but a penalty made things more difficult and another kick became necessary. The Bobcats unfortunately kept the game tied as Behm’s try was blocked.
Unfortunate for him, considering the weather situation, Behm was called on one final time in the second OT. His fifth attempt–this one from 28 yards out–missed right. The visitors then extended their celebration into a game-winning one shortly thereafter as they scored on the first snap of their drive to finish the battle.
WPU leaned heavily on its fullbacks Saturday as Ben Sherman (Fr., Troy, Pa., Elementary Education) gained 80 yards andAmos Johnson (Sr., Rock Island, Ill., Sports Administration) added another 78. At game’s end, the Statesmen outgained Peru State 298-261.
Defensively, Mason Wisse (Sr., Oskaloosa, Iowa, Physical Education) tallied 14 tackles, whileKody Wilson (Fr., Edmond, Okla.), in his first collegiate start, reached double figures with 10 stops. Resean Coleman (Jr., River Rouge, Mich., Exercise Science) produced the lone quarterback sack.
Next Up: William Penn travels to Atchison, Kan. next Saturday to face No. 11 Benedictine in Heart North action at 1 p.m.