Wesleyan Strikes Quickly in Defeating Yeomen
by Colin Smith
Oberlin football team was held scoreless for the first three quarters
last Saturday as they were defeated by the now 8-1 Battling Bishops
of Ohio Wesleyan, 48-13. The Bishops struck early and often with
four touchdowns in the first half, each coming on quick, scoring
plays of more than 50 yards.
The loss set the Yeomen back to 1-7 for the season and 1-4 in the
conference. Since the Yeomens 53-22 drubbing of Kenyon on
Oct. 20, they have scored just 13 points. They had gone seven quarters
without a score before first-year quarterback Jim Cooper hooked
up with junior wide receiver Ricky Valenzuela for a three yard touchdown
pass early in the fourth quarter on Saturday.
We knew going in that [Ohio Wesleyan] was one of the toughest
teams in the conference, first-year wide receiver Zach Lewis
The tone of the game was set on its second play, when Ohio Wesleyan
quarterback Mike Jonesco found a wide open receiver who easily ran
it all the way for a touchdown. Only 39 seconds into the game the
Bishops had a 7-0 lead.
Lewis described the play as a mental breakdown, as the
receiver was left completely uncovered.
Oberlin came on the field looking like they would be able to move
the ball well, as first-year quarterback Ryan Squatrito connected
with sophomore tight end Brian Senne for 17 yards on their first
play. But the Yeomen were unable to produce another first down.
That brought in senior punter Bob Montag and the punting team, who
made the first of several excellent special teams plays on the day.
Montags punt took a favorable bounce and was downed by Oberlin
coverage at the Bishop 1.
As it did for much of the game, the Yeomen defense looked good on
the following Ohio Wesleyan drive, allowing them only three yards
and forcing them to punt. The punt was short and would have given
the Yeomen excellent field position at the Bishop 39, but Oberlins
near-successful attempt to block the kick led to a roughing the
kicker penalty which gave Ohio Wesleyan 15 yards and a new set of
That happens when youre aggressive, Head Coach
Jeff Ramsey said.
The Bishops then drove as far as the Oberlin 38 before sophomore
defensive lineman Jesus Juarez nailed Jonesco for a six-yard loss,
causing a fumble on the sack. First-year lineman Jason Eiseman recovered
it for the Yeomen.
Two plays later Squatrito threw right into the hands of Chad Marlatt
of the Bishops. None of the Yeomen offensive players were able to
make a tackle as Marlatt ran down the sideline for 55 yards and
a touchdown and Ohio Wesleyan claimed a 14-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later the Bishops struck again as the Yeomen
went three-and-out, and Ohio Wesleyan halfback Jason Osborne rushed
66 yards for a touchdown on the first play of their drive.
Zach Lewis set the Yeomen up with good field position with a 31-yard
kickoff return, but they to were struggle on offense, managing just
six plays before having to punt. Montags kick was downed at
the 10, his second inside the 20, but Jonesco immediately hit a
receiver for 62 yards and only a great effort by sophomore defensive
back Mark Lengel saved a touchdown.
The Yeomen regained possession on a fumble, but could generate nothing
on the following drive, and the Bishops knocked Squatrito out of
Ohio Wesleyan saved their biggest play for the last score of the
half. After a Montag punt, a beautiful pass defense by senior Sam
Hobi, and good stop by the defensive line had the Bishops pinned
at their own 20, Jonesco found receiver Joe Clinton who ran the
length of the field for an 80-yard touchdown.
Oberlin followed with their only lengthy drive of the half, highlighted
by a 36-yard pass from Cooper, replacing Squatrito, to Lewis. They
got as far as the Ohio Wesleyan 19, but the Bishops sacked Cooper
for a loss of 10 yards, and first-year kicker Steve Willevers
45-yard attempt was short.
At the half the Yeomen trailed 28-0 and had accumulated fewer than
We had a rough day on offense, Lewis said.
Defensively the Yeomen were playing much better than they had against
Wabash, another team that had run up a big first half score against
them. Whereas the defense had been unable to make a stop against
Wabash, it made stops on all but four plays against Ohio Wesleyan.
We made some mistakes that you just cant make against
good teams, [but] as far as having a physical-type game we matched
them blow for blow, Ramsey said. They expected us to
be pansies. Were not. Were a tough football team.
Ohio Wesleyan added a less flashy touchdown in the third quarter,
before Cooper engineered the Yeomens first scoring drive beginning
with 2:27 left in the third and ending with the pass to Valenzuela
a minute and 15 seconds into the fourth. Willevers kick was
Much to the disgust of the fans, Ohio Wesleyan literally added insult
to injury, being called for two personal fouls and two unsportsmanlike
conduct penalties over the games final 35 minutes. The penalties
overshadowed the Bishops two fourth quarter touchdowns that
increased their lead to 48-6.
They didnt act like a championship team, Ramsey
said of the penalties. He added that when he asked an official about
his own players the official responded, Coach, your guys are
being competitive. All theyre doing is being competitive.
The Yeomen proved their competitiveness in their final drive. Down
by 42 with only five minutes remaining, Cooper had to come out of
the game. Junior Chris Moffatt replaced him, facing a third-and-nine
situation, and hit Lewis for 11 yards. The Yeomen converted a fourth-and-one
to keep the drive alive, and then first-year receiver Scott Barker
made a remarkable diving catch near the sideline at the two, perhaps
the best play by either team in the game. A play later Moffatt kept
the ball and snuck a yard into the end zone for a moral victory
First-year Chris Handley said the highlight of the game was that
we didnt give up. In a couple of years well be able
to probably beat that team.
This Saturday the Yeomen will face the 2-7 Denison Big Red, in the
last home game of the season. Denison possesses the best passing
offense in the conference, but has also allowed an average of 48
points per game.
They might throw the ball 65 times in a game, Ramsey
said. I think our [defensive] strength is against the passing
Against common opponents Case Western Reserve, Wabash, Kenyon and
Ohio Wesleyan, both Oberlin and Denison are 1-3. Denison has been
outscored 197-115 in those games, while Oberlin has put up 111 points
and given up 171. In last years contest between the two, the
Yeomen held Denison to minus ten rushing yards and sacked their
quarterback 15 times in a 14-6 loss.
Theyre a team that we should just destroy, first-year
running back Travis Oman said. Our offensive line should own
their defensive line.
Despite the Big Reds horrific defense, to defeat them the
Yeomen will have to bring the offense that scored 53 points against
Kenyon, rather than the one thats managed 13 points in the
last eight quarters.
We just have to keep from hurting ourselves with penalties
and turnovers, Lewis said.