ETTRICK, Va. – Going on the road to second-seeded Virginia State, the seventh-seeded West Georgia Wolves rolled to a 35-9 victory over the Trojans at Rogers Stadium in the opening round of the Division II Super Region 2 Playoffs.
West Georgia used a solid offense and a relentless defense on their way to the first round win, for their first playoff victory under head coach David Dean and the sixth playoff victory in school history.
The UWG defense held the Trojans to just 277 yards of total offense. That included holding a VSU offense that averaged over 250 rushing yards per game to just 70 rushing yards. The Wolves had their hands full with CIAA Offensive Player of the Year, Trent Cannon, who has rushed for over 1,600 yards this season, but held the senior to just 65 yards of rushing. As a whole, the defensive unit kept a Trojan offense that scored over 40 points per game out of the endzone and to just three field goals on the day.
Offensively, the Wolves racked up 418 yards of total offense, including 180 on the ground with the GSC’s Offensive Player of the Year Devontae Jackson going for the bulk of that yardage with 127 yards on 30 carries.
Virginia State got on the board first in the game with a 27-yard field goal from Alfaro Cesar, to take a 3-0 lead in the opening quarter. West Georgia then responded with an eight-play, 68 yard drive that was capped off with Willie Candler finding a wide open Shaq Roland who scampered into the endzone from 26 yards out to give the Wolves the lead.
The defense never let the Trojans back on top as on the next drive for UWG, Candler found Brandon Walton open for the 43 yard score to put the Wolves up 14-3 early in the second quarter. That’s how it would stay for much of the remainder of the quarter until the Trojans tacked on three points with a 32-yarder from Matt Hillquist as time expired in the half, making it a 14-6 UWG advantage at the break.
On VSU’s first drive of the second half, Montrell Pardue made a fantastic play, intercepting Cordelral Cook’s pass and returning it to the VSU 14, where the Wolves would capitalize with a touchdown run from Willie Candler, making it 21-6 early in the third. Late in the quarter, VSU would add yet another field goal, cutting the West Georgia lead to just 21-9.
The Wolves would add two more scores as Candler found DeNiko Carter on a fade route in the endzone, and then Brooks Shannon took it in from six yards out with 1:05 left to account for the final margin of victory.
Candler finished the day 11-of-19 with 238 yards through the air with three touchdown tosses to three different receivers. Shaq Roland led the Wolves in receiving with 93 yards on three receptions and the touchdown. Defensively, Korie Rogers led the way with eight tackles, while senior Zed Brown had seven.
West Georgia will advance to the second round of the NCAA Playoffs where they will face sixth-seeded West Florida at University Stadium next Saturday, November 25. Additional details and times are to be announced.
Courtesy: WGU Athletics