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Fighting Scots surge to decisive victory in opening game

Ben Blotner
Sports Editor

The Wooster Fighting Scots football team earned a victory in its season opener against the Bluffton University Beavers, pulling away late for a 45-21 victory on Saturday afternoon. “It was a really great all-around team win,” said Jake Cohen ’20. “It’s a big confidence builder winning our season opener against a good team.”

The game was a back-and-forth, tightly contested affair for the first three quarters. Wooster got off to a good start, as kicker Trevor Bowden ’18 put the Scots on the board first with a 26-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. Jacob Lewis ’20 scored the first touchdown, a 22-yarder on a pass from quarterback Gary Muntean ’18 at the very end of the first quarter. This gave Wooster a 10-0 edge.

Bluffton soon bounced back with a touchdown run by quarterback Colby Speice ’18 to cut the lead to 10-7. Wooster answered with Lewis’ second score of the day, this time on a 6-yard throw by Muntean. The Beavers got the points right back on Speice’s throw to Lucas Espitia ’19 for a 17-yard touchdown. Unlike the Scots, they went for the two-point conversion and were successful, making the score 17-15 Wooster.

Following halftime, Bluffton took its first lead of the game when Speice connected with Keyon Camden ’19 for a 38-yarder and a 21-17 lead. However, they failed to complete the two-point conversion. Wooster would eventually regain the lead on Muntean’s two-yard scramble into the end zone. With just 24 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Nick Strausbaugh ’20 made a terrific catch and escaped the Bluffton defense for an important 56-yard touchdown.

With 4:51 remaining and Wooster up 31-21, Antonio Bailey ’19 ran for a three-yard touchdown to essentially put the game out of reach.

Cohen followed with an interception and a 24-yard return to put an exclamation point on the victory. It was Wooster’s first interception return for a touchdown since 2013. The Scots’ defense locked down Speice and the Beavers the rest of the way for what was ultimately a blowout win.

“The win was a great start for the season and it definitely gives us some momentum moving forward,” remarked Christian Dokes ’21.

Bailey led the Scots by rushing for 106 yards, while Strausbaugh paced the team with 79 receiving yards, thanks in large part to his great catch.

Connor Allan ’19 also had a solid day, making a pair of catches and gaining 70 yards, while Patrick Johnson ’18 recorded two of Wooster’s four interceptions. On defense, Christian Santos ’20 led the way with 10 tackles, while Dokes and Dante Fair ’21 recorded eight apiece.

For Bluffton, Drake Campbell ’19 had 50 rushing yards to lead the team. Micah Roberson ’18’s 120 receiving yards were the most on either side, followed by Camden’s 98. Their tackle leaders were Doniven Clark ’19(10), Isaac Zickafoose ’19 (9) and Dylan Shaffer ’20 (9).

The Fighting Scots are next in action on Sept. 9, when they take on Allegheny College in Meadville, Penn.

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