Wade Steinlage, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications
OSKALOOSA – Mother Nature was the only true winner Saturday as weather forced the Heart of America Athletic Conference North-South Crossover football game between William Penn and Central Methodist to end in a 7-7 tie.
With 2:17 left in the second quarter, the teams were forced to go to their locker rooms as severe weather entered the area. A little over an hour and numerous lightning strikes later, the head coaches and the officiating crew conferred and decided to end the contest in a draw.
It is the 36th tie in program history and the first since ending up 0-0 against Culver-Stockton in a 1986 meeting.
Neither side could get on the scoreboard in the first quarter, but just 27 seconds into the second period, the Eagles (2-2-1) found the endzone to make it 7-0.
WPU (1-3-1) answered fortunately, marching 74 yards on 13 plays. Alex Crehan (Grad., Troy, Ill., Business Management) eventually crossed the goal line from one yard out for the touchdown. That knotted the matchup at 7-7 with 5:55 to go until halftime.
Intermission never came, however, as the teams finished with a total of 29 minutes and 43 seconds under their proverbial belts. The navy and gold were five plays into their next possession, nearing midfield when the decision was made to pull players from the field.
At game’s end, William Penn held a 151-118 edge in total yards, including 142 on the ground. Archer Charles (So., Guntersville, Ala., Business Management) headed the ground attack with 39 yards on five runs, while Tommy Imbu (So., Edmond, Okla., Business Management) finished with 37 yards and Ben Sherman (Fr., Troy, Pa., Elementary Education) had 36 more. WPU ran a total of 38 plays from scrimmage, compared to only 21 for the Eagles.
No turnovers were committed in the game, while defensively, Duke Kyle (Fr., Missouri Valley, Iowa, Communications) led WPU with five tackles. Jace Neugebauer (So., McArthur, Calif., Business Management) had four stops and Resean Coleman (Sr., River Rouge, Mich., Exercise Science) managed three more; both individuals had one tackle for loss.
“This is not the result anyone wanted,” Head Coach Todd Hafner said. “Safety takes highest priority, however, and dictated our decisions. Thanks goes out to (Director of Sports Medicine) Abu Ibrahim and (Athletics Director) Nik Rule for all of their advice throughout and for keeping the situation under control. It is unfortunate that the game had to end in a tie, but that was the only option. We want to thank everyone for coming out.”
“We will get back to work tomorrow and get ready to go play great at Missouri Valley,” Hafner added.
Next Up: William Penn travels to Marshall, Mo. next Saturday to face Missouri Valley in its final Heart crossover game of the season at 2 p.m.