Slow Start Hurts Statesmen at Benedictine

ATCHISON — The Statesmen football team could not overcome a poor start as it fell to Benedictine 34-14 in a Heart of America Athletic Conference crossover game.

WPU (0-1) started off the game on an ominous note against the Ravens (1-0) as its first drive ended with an interception returned for a touchdown. The following Statesmen possession also ended in a turnover as the Ravens forced a fumble and got the ball on their own 46-yard line.

The Statesmen defense finally took the field and helped the offense out as they forced Benedictine to kick a field goal that ended up going wide left. Unfortunately, the Statesmen offense could not get momentum going as they went three-and-out, punting the ball back to the Ravens.

One play later, the Ravens added another touchdown for a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.

The Statesmen offense continued to struggle finding any rhythm as it threw a second interception. BC took advantage, pulling out to a 21-0 lead.

Looking to get going, the Statesmen unfortunately could not get the ball back to the offense with a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. The defense made a stand, however, holding Benedictine to just a field goal as the home team pushed the score to 24-0.

The rest of the second quarter was a lot of back and forth until the 1:19 mark when Emilio Monsivais (Grad., St. Louis, Mo., Master’s of Sports Management) found RJ Saar (So. Rochester, Minn., Biology) for a nine-yard touchdown pass. Monsivais finished 14-for-19 for one touchdown and two interceptions, while Saar contributed four receptions for 16 yards and the score.

Unfortunately, Benedictine was left with too much time up and managed to tack on three more points to lead 27-7 going into the locker room.  The Ravens got the ball right back to start the second half and scored another touchdown for a 34-7 edge.

The rest of the game was fairly positive for the Statesmen defense as it held the Ravens scoreless. Harlan Plumber (Jr., Bryan, Texas., Exercise Science) led the defense with 15 tackles (2.5 for loss), while Jagger Blubaugh (Jr., Wichita, Kan., Exercise Science) added eight tackles and Kyriee Lewis (So., Eight Mile, Ala., Sports Management) finished with six stops and one sack.

As the fourth quarter rolled around, the Statesmen offense once again found paydirt as Sterling Ramsey II (Fr., Tulsa, Okla., Business Management) scored on a three-yard rushing touchdown. In addition to his score, Ramsey finished the day 5-for-12 passing.

“We played a very good football team,” Head Coach Todd Hafner said. “The early turnovers were quite costly, but I thought once we settled in we played really well. We made some great plays on both sides of the ball, but we have plenty to work on for next week. I have a ton of confidence in these players and coaches to improve every week and be very competitive every time we step on the field.

Next Up: William Penn returns to Oskaloosa next Saturday for its home opener, hosting Baker in a Heart crossover game at 6 p.m.

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