November 28, 2012

South's beasts meet again

More news about: Mary Hardin-Baylor | Wesley
Although Wesley's coach says he's seen better linebackers than Javicz Jones, it's because they also played for Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Mary Hardin-Baylor athletics photo 

By Adam Turer
D3sports.com

Finally, they came to their senses and scheduled a regular season game.

After meeting in six of the past seven postseasons, Wesley and Mary Hardin-Baylor delayed the seemingly inevitable and met this year in Dover on Sept. 15. The Cru improved their all-time record against the Wolverines to 3-4 with a 32-25 victory. It is little surprise that, once again, one of these two teams will end the other’s season. This time, there is more familiarity than ever before.

“You feel like you know them a little bit more,” said Crusaders defensive coordinator Larry Harmon about preparing for the Wolverines for the second time this season. “We’re starting with an understanding of how they utilize their different skill kids, more than if we were going in to this game cold turkey.”

Physically, the teams have not changed much since Week 3. Any edge gained from the prior meeting is likely to be of the mental variety.

“We’re able to look at them and what they were thinking in Week 3,” said Wesley coach Mike Drass. “When I look back at that film, they were the better team that day.”

While they never fell below No. 6 in the Top 25 poll this season, it took the Wolverines some time to hit their stride. Wesley trailed in six of its first eight games, but rallied to defeat every opponent outside of the Cru. In its last three games, including two playoff wins, Wesley has outscored opponents 176-20.

“Coming into this year, we didn’t have any big-name type players,” said Drass. “We’ve progressively gotten better throughout the season and formed our own identity. I think we have a lot more confidence in ourselves now.”

While Wesley has steadily improved, Mary Hardin-Baylor has dominated. A fourth quarter rally to defeat Hardin-Simmons on October 20 is the toughest test the Cru has faced since seeing the Wolverines. UMHB averages over 51 points per game, second only to Mount Union, and wins by an average of 33 points per game.

“I think they’re playing with extreme confidence, and rightfully so,” said Drass.

Just a sophomore, Sosthene Kapepula has already had a big impact in the UMHB-Wesley rivalry.
Wesley athletics photo 

One thing from the regular season meeting that remains unchanged for both teams can be found at the top of the individual defensive stat line. UMHB linebacker Javicz Jones and Wesley linebacker Sosthene Kapepula continue to lead their team in tackles. As two of the most athletic linebackers in the country, each playmaker has the ability to change a game’s momentum.

“We’re fortunate that our best playmaker is Javicz,” said Harmon. “He makes it go for us. He’s pretty phenomenal.”

Jones, a senior, is the latest in a line of big-play linebackers at Mary Hardin-Baylor. He met with former Crusader and current Indianapolis Colt Jerrell Freeman before and after the Cru’s regular season finale on Nov. 10. The two talked more about life than football, said Jones. But there are similarities between the two players on the field. Jones is among the nation’s leaders with 111 tackles, seven interceptions, and four defensive touchdowns.

“I’ve seen a couple of better linebackers better than him over the years, but they both played for Mary Hardin-Baylor and one of them is in the NFL right now,” said Drass.

Jones remains humble in the face of the comparisons to Freeman, who currently ranks fifth in the NFL in tackles. He is the heart and soul of the Cru defense that held Franklin 24 points below its scoring average a week after holding Louisiana College 15 points below its season average.

“I enjoy being blessed to have the opportunity to be out there making plays,” said Jones. “As a child, I was taught to just run to the ball, so that’s what I do. Once I’m on the field, I’m just having fun.”

The Wolverines have their own playmaking linebacker. Just a sophomore, Kapepula has asserted himself as a leader on defense, tallying 102 tackles, three forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries so far this year. His 28-yard scoop and score — Wesley’s second defensive touchdown in the first 2:06 of the game — set the tone for the Wolverines’ 56-6 rout of Cortland State last week.

“Guys gravitate to him naturally and follow his lead,” said Drass. “I look at him in the same mold as [Jones]. He’s a tenacious player who plays throughout the entire play.”

Kapepula worked his way into the starting lineup late in his freshman year and had his best performance in the 2011 playoff win over Mary Hardin-Baylor, notching 14 tackles and an interception. He batted away LiDarral Bailey’s final pass attempt to seal the victory. He dedicated himself in the offseason to taking a leap between his first and second seasons.

“It starts with the relationship between me and my coaches, especially my linebacker coach, Tim Kane,” said Kapepula. “I stayed here over the summer and worked toward taking that leadership role.”

Both Jones and Kapepula will be counted on to make big plays on Saturday. Their leadership of the defensive units will be just as vital as their performance on the field.

“We need to stop them on third down and get the ball back to our offense,” said Drass.

Defense was the key to the first matchup this season, and will be the key again on Saturday.

“We felt like we could hold our own and control the line of scrimmage,” said Harmon of his unit’s mindset going into the September meeting. “That’s been the difference in who wins and loses this game over the years.”

comments powered by Disqus
Sep. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 31, at N.C. Wesleyan 28
Box Score
Sep. 19: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Framingham State at Fitchburg State
Live Stats Video
Sep. 20: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
RPI at Castleton State
Preview Live Stats Video Tickets
12:00 PM
Maine Maritime at Massachusetts Maritime
Preview Live Stats Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Gallaudet at Rochester
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Alfred State at Husson
Preview Live Stats Video
12:00 PM
Sewanee at Randolph-Macon
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Moravian at Johns Hopkins
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Frostburg State at Utica
Live Stats Video Audio
12:00 PM
Alfred at Buffalo State
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Newport News Apprentice at Catholic
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Becker at Nichols
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Wesleyan at Middlebury
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Bridgewater State at Worcester State
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Hamilton at Tufts
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Bates at Amherst
Preview Live Stats
1:00 PM
Colby at Trinity (Conn.)
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Salve Regina at William Paterson
Live Stats Audio
1:00 PM
Lebanon Valley at Stevenson
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Allegheny at Hiram
Live Stats Live Stats Video Video
1:00 PM
SUNY-Maritime at Merchant Marine
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at St. Vincent
Preview Video
1:00 PM
Thomas More at Thiel
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Ursinus at Franklin and Marshall
Preview Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Endicott at Kean
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Coast Guard at Hampden-Sydney
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Maryville (Tenn.) at Averett
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Albright at Widener
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Hobart at Curry
Live Stats Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
LaGrange at Greensboro
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Susquehanna at Dickinson
Video Audio
1:00 PM
Rowan at Wesley
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Morrisville State at St. Lawrence
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
FDU-Florham at Misericordia
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Juniata at Gettysburg
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Lincoln (Pa.) at Montclair State
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Wabash at Denison
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Bethany at Westminster (Pa.)
1:00 PM
Mount Ida at Springfield
Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Hartwick at Ithaca
Live Stats
1:00 PM
WPI at Norwich
Live Stats Live Stats Video
1:00 PM
Iowa Wesleyan at Minnesota-Morris
1:00 PM
Huntingdon at Methodist
Video Video
1:30 PM
Ohio Northern at Baldwin Wallace
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Wilmington at Capital
Preview Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Franklin at Anderson
Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Carnegie Mellon at Washington and Jefferson
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Heidelberg at John Carroll
Preview Live Stats Video Video Audio Audio
1:30 PM
King's at Lycoming
Live Stats Video Audio
1:30 PM
Geneva at Waynesburg
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Muskingum
Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Mount St. Joseph at Defiance
Live Stats Video
1:30 PM
Earlham at Manchester
Live Stats Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Bowdoin at Williams
Video
2:00 PM
Muhlenberg at McDaniel
Preview Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at TCNJ
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Marietta at Otterbein
Audio
2:00 PM
Hope at Lakeland
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Olivet at Aurora
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
Trine at Rockford
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Albion at Concordia (Wis.)
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
North Park at Washington U.
Preview Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Kalamazoo at Wisconsin Lutheran
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Eau Claire at Wheaton (Ill.)
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Tickets
2:00 PM
Concordia-Moorhead at St. John's
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Bethel
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Augsburg at Carleton
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
Hamline at Gustavus Adolphus
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Stetson at Birmingham-Southern
Preview Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Trinity (Texas) at Sul Ross State
Audio
2:00 PM
Occidental at Austin
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Southwestern Assemblies at Howard Payne
Live Stats Audio
2:00 PM
Maranatha Baptist at Central
2:00 PM
Grinnell at Luther
Video
2:00 PM
UW-Stevens Point at Coe
Audio
2:00 PM
Eureka at Greenville
2:00 PM
Westminster (Mo.) at MacMurray
2:00 PM
Loras at Augustana
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Texas Lutheran at Louisiana College
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
Illinois Wesleyan at Simpson
Live Stats Video
2:30 PM
Rose-Hulman at Hanover
Preview Live Stats Video
3:00 PM
Plymouth State at Western Connecticut
Live Stats
3:00 PM
Hardin-Simmons at Wayland Baptist
Live Stats Video Audio
3:00 PM
Lewis and Clark at Whittier
Live Stats Video
3:00 PM
Willamette at Cal Lutheran
Live Stats
3:30 PM
Alma at Concordia-Chicago
Live Stats Video
3:30 PM
Carroll at Lake Forest
Live Stats Video
3:30 PM
Whitworth at La Verne
Live Stats Video Audio
4:00 PM
Westfield State at Mass-Dartmouth
Live Stats Video
4:00 PM
Crown at St. Scholastica
Live Stats Live Stats Video
6:00 PM
DePauw at Wittenberg
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
6:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Brockport State
Audio Tickets
6:00 PM
UW-River Falls at South Dakota Mines
7:00 PM
Guilford at Southern Virginia
@ Salem Stadium
Live Stats Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Wooster at Oberlin
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Ferrum at Shenandoah
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Centre at Washington and Lee
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
Kenyon at Ohio Wesleyan
7:00 PM
Wilkes at Delaware Valley
Live Stats Audio
7:00 PM
Pacific at Dubuque
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
UW-Platteville at North Central (Ill.)
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
7:00 PM
Chicago at Elmhurst
Preview Live Stats Video
7:00 PM
Mary Hardin-Baylor at UW-La Crosse
7:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at South Dakota State
Live Stats Video Audio
7:30 PM
Adrian at Benedictine
Live Stats Video Audio
8:00 PM
UW-Stout at Wartburg
Audio
8:00 PM
Martin Luther at Northwestern (Minn.)
Live Stats Video
8:00 PM
Southwestern at East Texas Baptist
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
10:00 PM
Rhodes at Pomona-Pitzer
Preview Live Stats Video
10:00 PM
Linfield at Redlands
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
Sep. 20: All times Eastern
6:00 PM
St. John Fisher at Brockport State
Audio Tickets
6:00 PM
DePauw at Wittenberg
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
8:00 PM
UW-Stout at Wartburg
Audio
7:00 PM
UW-Oshkosh at South Dakota State
Live Stats Video Audio
7:00 PM
UW-Platteville at North Central (Ill.)
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
7:00 PM
Mary Hardin-Baylor at UW-La Crosse
10:00 PM
Linfield at Redlands
Live Stats Video Audio Audio
2:00 PM
UW-Whitewater at TCNJ
Live Stats Audio
1:30 PM
Mount Union at Muskingum
Preview Live Stats Audio Audio
1:30 PM
Heidelberg at John Carroll
Preview Live Stats Video Video Audio Audio
1:30 PM
King's at Lycoming
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Rowan at Wesley
Live Stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Coast Guard at Hampden-Sydney
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Audio
1:00 PM
Wabash at Denison
Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Thomas More at Thiel
Preview Live Stats Video Audio
1:00 PM
Hartwick at Ithaca
Live Stats
1:00 PM
Hobart at Curry
Live Stats Live Stats Video Audio Audio
12:00 PM
Moravian at Johns Hopkins
Live Stats Video Audio
2:00 PM
St. Olaf at Bethel
Live Stats Video
2:00 PM
UW-Eau Claire at Wheaton (Ill.)
Preview Live Stats Video Audio Tickets
2:00 PM
Illinois Wesleyan at Simpson
Live Stats Video

What We're Reading