Monday, June 17, 2024

Flag Football knocks off Ottawa 18-13 in thriller – Kansas Wesleyan University

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Thursday night’s flag football game between Kansas Wesleyan and Ottawa had it all.
 
Incredible offensive plays, massive defensive stands, and at the end, a bunch of happy Coyotes.
 
KWU used a nearly nine and a half minute drive in the fourth quarter to control the ball and got a big defensive stand as the Coyotes knocked off the Braves 18-13 at Gene Bissell Field at JRI Hospitality Stadium at the Graves Family Sports Complex.
 
It was KWU’s first-ever win over the Braves since both institutions started flag football in 2021. It was also Ottawa’s first-ever loss to any KCAC team in three-plus seasons of the program’s existence.
 
Ottawa fell to 8-4 overall and 8-1 in the KCAC, while Wesleyan boosted its record to 10-1 overall and 8-1 in the KCAC.
 
Wesleyan’s fourth down drive was instrumental in the Coyote victory, keeping Ottawa’s potent and fast-strike-ability offense on the sidelines, while methodically keeping the down marker moving.
 
It was a defensive stand that started it as Ottawa had driven to the KWU 14, looking to take the lead back from the Coyotes, but a fourth-and-goal pass from Madysen Carrera to Mandolyn Scalisi was incomplete giving the ball back to the Coyotes with 10:34 to go.
 
The Coyotes began their march there, with a first-down pass to Na’Kiya Lloyd to start the drive. Wesleyan got it to the Ottawa 34, where it appeared the drive was going to stall, but facing fourth-and-14, Chihiro Iwata calmly hit Jazmine Whitfield over the middle for 25 yards and a first down to the Ottawa 9.
 
A bad snap moved the ball back to the 24, but the clock continued to roll. After a pair of incomplete passes, the Coyotes faced another fourth down, but Ottawa would commit a personal foul penalty on the fourth down play moving the ball to the 14 and giving the Coyotes a fresh set of downs.
 
After another bad snap, KWU had the ball at the Ottawa 26. Iwata then hit Ciaran DeCuir to the 18, who lateraled to Angel Roman who took it to the 14, where again the Coyotes faced fourth down with just over a minute left. Iwata hit Ja’Daa Wilson over the middle but she went down at the 4,  giving the ball back to the Braves with 1:08 to go.
 
Ottawa moved quickly getting sideline pass plays out to the 21, giving the Braves a first down. Ottawa completed three more passes but stayed in bounds on all three plays giving the Braves fourth and 2 at their own 38. Carrera would throw a pass to Bailey Hodgins who could not reel the ball in and the Coyotes would take over with 10 seconds left.
 
One kneel down by Iwata is all it took and the Coyotes came away with the victory.
 
The game started like it was going to be a shootout between the two teams.
 
Wesleyan scored on its first drive as Iwata capped it with a 1-yard pass to DeCuir with 6:32 left in the first. KWU’s drive was aided by a pair of Ottawa penalties, and also a big 17-yard pass completion to Whitfield on a third down giving the Coyotes a first and goal at the 17.
 
Ottawa answered right back as Carrera led the Braves 66 yards in nine plays capping the drive with a 6-yard pass to Camacho with 2:23 left in the first. The PAT1 gave Ottawa a 7-6 lead.
 
Another big pass play for the Coyotes, a 30-yard catch by Wilson to the Ottawa 14 set up KWU’s next score as Iwata hit Roman for a 5-yard score with 10:46 left in the second giving the Coyotes a 12-7 lead.
 
Ottawa’s next drive stalled at the KWU 26 as Wilson knocked down a pass on fourth down with 5:55 left giving the ball back to the Coyotes.
 
Wesleyan gave it right back to the Braves on an interception with 3:42 left before the half, but again Wesleyan’s defense stepped up and forced an Ottawa punt that pinned the Coyotes at their own 6 with 1:24 left before the half.
 
KWU was unable to score before the half as KWU’s drive stalled at the 38 as time expired.
 
Ottawa opened the second half with a scoring drive as Carrera hit Cynthia Homs for a 4-yard scoring pass, but the PAT1 would fail making it 13-12 Ottawa with 7:24 left in the third.
 
Then it was KWU’s turn.
 
The Coyotes marched downfield thanks in part to two big plays, a 24-yard pass to Wilson and a later 23-yard toss to Whitfield that gave the Coyotes first and goal at the Ottawa 6. Two plays later Iwata found Roman from two yards out giving the Coyotes the 18-13 lead with 3:14 to go.
 
Iwata was again magnificent for the Coyotes, completing 33 of 46 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns. Whitfield led the Coyotes with 11 catches for 121 yards in the game. Wilson added three catches for 64 yards, Roman had nine for 62 and two scores, DeCuir had five for 26 and a score, Lloyd had four for 26 and Tori Wlodarczyk had one for three yards.
 
The Coyotes held Ottawa to 249 yards of total offense in the game.
 
Roman had nine flag pulls to lead the Coyotes. Alexa Mansur had six. Khylie Douglas had a sack.
 
The Coyotes are on the road for the next three starting on Saturday at Cottey. KWU returns home on April 10 to host Midland in the regular season home finale. KWU then heads to Ottawa for the rematch on April 13.
 
 
 

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