Football season ends on a high note for Rams
FORT WORTH, TX - Texas Wesleyan Football (3-7, 3-5 SAC) improved on its win total for the second-consecutive season Saturday afternoon when the Rams put a complete game together in a 24-6 victory over Wayland Baptist (4-5, 3-4 SAC).
Freshman quarterback Dalton Dale got his first collegiate start and delivered. Dale completed 7-of-14 passes for 101 yards and rushed for 92 yards on 20 carries. Take away the sacks and Dale accounted for 126 yards when he chose to take off running. Dale got support in the backfield from senior Jermarcus Jones (17 carries, 123 yards, 2 TD) and Trey Jackson (9 carries, 104 yards.) TXWES rushed for a total of 322 yards averaging 6.3 yards per carry, the most rushing yards in a game since the 353 yards in 2018's season finale against Ottawa-Arizona.
Outside the ground game, dominating moments by the defense set the tone:
- Wayland Baptist had five drives in the second quarter. The Pioneers punted, kicked a field goal, were intercepted, turned the ball over on downs and had the first half clock run out on them. But in those five drives, Wayland moved the ball just 20 yards on 14 plays and failed to pick up a first down. In total, the Pioneers had nine drives without a move of the chains in the contest.
- At the start of the second half, freshman quarterback Nick Quintero replaced senior Mitchel Parsley (third in the SAC in passing yards coming into the game) attempting to ignite the offense. While Quintero got the ball moving for the Pioneers, the Rams tightened up in the red zone. Three times Wayland reached inside the 20 in the second half and three times came away with no touchdowns.
- The second journey inside the 20 was the worst for Wayland Baptist. Still down just two scores in the fourth quarter, 17-6, Quintero was pressured and hastily tried to check down a pass to the back in the backfield but instead tossed it to Ram linebacker Dylan Pettway, who took the pick the other way for an 85-yard touchdown. It was potentially a 14-point swing in an 11-point game at the time and capped off a brilliant season for Pettway. He finished third on the team in tackles for the second-straight season with 56, had 10 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and two INTs.
- The Rams gathered three more sacks and seven more tackles for loss, led by Darnerick Scott's and Cody Pettit's three TFLs and a sack each.
Back to offense, another freshman was a major contributor in the passing game. Receiver Lonte Nettles Jr. - who had caught one pass for one yard this season prior to Saturday afternoon's tilt, led all receivers with 51 yards through the air on three grabs, including a 38-yard reception on a crossing route from his slot position that left the defense confused and Nettles wide open to safely make a beautiful reception off a drop-in-the-bucket throw from Dale.
The Rams finished the season 3-1 at home and could finish in a three-way tie for fifth place in the SAC depending on how action goes in the final week of the regular season. All SAC football teams still have one game left to play next weekend except the Rams, who were the only team that received an irrelevant bye week at the end of the season in the odd-numbered conference.