During the past decade, one team in the state of Delaware has shown an incredible consistency in winning football games. On the high school level, schools such as Newark, Middletown, Salesianum, Concord and Caesar Rodney have recorded numerous state championships and amazing winning records. And of course, the University of Delaware often flirts with winning national championships, but the team that stands out above the crowd is the Wesley College Wolverines.
The fifth-ranked Wolverines are back in the NCAA D-3 playoffs for the eight consecutive year, seeking the elusive championship game. Wesley rivals, Wisconsin Whitewater and Mount Union, are the only two to win, or appear, in the title game over past five years. Whitewater, the defending D-3 champion, lost three games this season and did not make the playoff cut.
After completing another successful regular season at 8-1, the Wolverines appear to have yet another good opportunity to make it to the final round this year, at the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, in Salem Virginia.
Wesley's offense scored the second-most points in school-history in a 73-14 win over Mount Ida in the first round of the NCAA D-3 Tournament last Saturday.
Senior quarterback Justin Sottilare tied his own single-game record with six touchdown passes to five different receivers, and the Wolverines also rushed for a season-high 247 yards. Defensively, Wesley set season-high marks with 13 tackles for loss and five sacks while allowing just 111 total yards and -10 rushing yards.
Since the 2003 season, the Wolverines, under the direction of coach Mike Drass, have won an incredible 96 games against only 17 losses. They began to hit their stride in 2004 when they were 8-2 and just missed a bid to the NCAA playoffs. The 2005 season may well be considered Wesley's breakout season with the team recording an impressive 12-2 record, which included an Atlantic Collegiate Football Conference (ACFC) championship and the first in a string of consecutive NCAA berths.
In 2006 and 2009 the teams went 13-1. The only blemishes to their records were losses in the NCAA semifinals. Overall, the team has been to the "show" for seven consecutive seasons and made it to the semifinal rounds five of those years. Wesley's losses have come against D-3 powerhouses Mount Union and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the only two teams to win a championship in the past 15 years. Mount Union has won 110 of their last 112 games, while Whitewater had won 58 of their last 60 games and the past two championships by defeating the Purple Raiders. One might conclude it's time for these two teams to step up to the next level, but their coaches claim to be comfortable where they are now.
The Wolverines recent success includes winning four of the last five Lambert-Meadowlands Trophies in Division 3 in recognition of Eastern supremacy in college football. And a number of recent graduates have played in the Arena Football League and the Canadian Football League or are coaching on the high school and college levels.
Page 2 of 2 - During the 2012 regular season, Wesley played what was is considered to be among the most difficult schedules in their division by playing five highly ranked teams and traveling to Menlo, California for a game.
The Wolverines (9-1) will host Cortland State at Scott D. Miller Stadium in the next round on Saturday, November 24, at 12 noon.