Wabash scored seemingly at will in most of the first half Saturday against Kenyon en route to a 49-0 Homecoming win. Long bombs and long runs highlighted the first half romp.
The Little Giants improved to 4-0 while Kenyon remains winless. See photos here and here.
Chase Belton found a wide open Wes Chamblee for 47 yards to open the onslaught. Six minutes later Tyler Holmes ended an 85-yard drive with a one-yard plunge for 14-0. Belton then found Jonathan Horn for a 61-yard catch Horn wrestled free of a defender and dashed for another score. Then to open the second quarter Belton scooted 47 yards for 28-0.
If that wasn't a bad enough start for the Lords they made it worse on the ensuing kickoff by fumbling the kick and handing the ball right back to the Little Giants at the 21-yard-line. Then Belton found sophomore tight end Jeff Bell for a 7-yard TD, 35-0.
"Obviously, we played well on offense," Coach Erik Raeburn said. "We made some mistakes but we had some guys make some unbelievable plays to kind of bail us out of a couple mental errors in the first half. But this was obviously the best we've played offensively."
Belton's numbers were staggering, accounting for five touchdowns. He rushed the ball five times for 110 yards and two scores. He threw for three more touchdowns on 11-of-13 passing and 203 yards.
Quarterbacks Andy Walsh and Tyler Burke saw second half action and combined for 4-of-8 throwing the ball. A second half highlight for Wabash was junior running back Troy Meyers 67 hard-earned yards on 12 carries. He also picked up Wabash's final score of the game on a 7-yard run. Plenty of backs touched the football. Derek Rowe had 45 yards on 10 carries.Vann Hunt ran eight times for 41 yards. Tyler Holmes had six carries for 15 yards and a score.
"I've been pretty happy with our running game three of the first four games," Raeburn said. "I thought we ran the ball well today. We got a couple different run plays going today we had not run as well to this point. All in all, I'm happy with how we played."
Horn and Chamblee led the receiving with 90 and 50 yards, respectively. Sean Hildebrand, Bell, and Rowe each had two catches.Devin Kelley and Josh Wright had a catch apiece.
Wabash even used two different kickers with Ian MacDougall and Brock Smith each taking turns
The roster-emptying second half was the same for the defense. FreshmanAJ Akinribade had his second impressive outing, leading the Little Giants with seven tackles. Fellow freshman Denzel Wilkins also had seven stops and a pass breakup. Freshman Cody Buresh and Austin O'Neal each had six stops.Kyle Najar, Nate Scola, and sophomore linebacker Derek Dean had five stops apiece. Twenty-five different defensive players were credited with at least one tackle.
"It's a very good opportunity for a lot of younger guys to get some experience," Senior defensive linemen Tyler Buresh said. "It's great for them to get time on the field, especially with a homecoming crowd like this. That's really special."
Tyler's little brother, freshman Cody, made a big impression last week in his first extended play and followed that up Saturday with six tackles.
"It's so awesome (to get to play with my brother)," said big brother Buresh, who recorded three tackles. It's so neat and such a unique experience. I'm very glad to be able to play with him."
Cody didn't play as a freshman in high school so this season has been the first for the brothers to suit up together for action. There is another Buresh back in Holland, Mi., who is two years younger than Cody.
The final team numbers obviously reflected the individual accomplishments. Wabash had 545 total yards of offense to the Lords' 278. The Little Giants had a 287-89 edge rushing and 262-189 difference passing.
Wabash will be home for the second straight week Saturday for Washington University. While some may see it as a simple non-conference game, Coach Raeburn remembers all too-well the Bears' 24-20 win last year.
"We had a bad week of practice and then we went out and played that way," he said after Saturday's game. "We just did some really stupid things defensively. We gave up a 70-yard screen pass with like 20 seconds to go in half. Then we managed to get the lead and got a pass interference on third-and- 20 something. We ultimately gave up a touchdown pass. Defensively, they really put the clamps on us. We couldn't get much going. I felt they beat us in all three phases last year. I guess I wasn't surprised because we had a terrible week of practice."
The Bears lost 13-10 to North Park Saturday and to Wittenberg 20-17 a week earlier. They won their first two games.