Wesleyan rally falls short as they lose to Concord, 34-32

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – Nathan Payne set a career-high of 372 passing yards on Saturday, but the West Virginia Wesleyan (0-3) football team came up just short at home versus Concord (3-0) on Saturday (Sept. 17) afternoon at Cebe Ross Field in Buckhannon, W.Va. A Marcellus Saint interception in the final minute of play sealed the road victory for Concord.

WVWC Leaders
Javian Tomlinson rushed for 62 yards on 17 carries and caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Payne in the third quarter. Devin Washington reeled in seven receptions for 146 yards (career-high). The Suitland, Md., native totaled 67 yards after catch.

Donovan Woods shined for the Bobcat defense. Woods forced a fumble early in the first quarter and scooped up the ball for a 46-yard score. Woods’ impressive day continued when he picked off Concord’s Jack Mangel at the start of the fourth quarter. Deontre Logan led the Bobcats with eight total tackles. Cameron Lomax, Ely Ghameshlougy and Chris Taylor each forced a fumble.

Leaders for Concord
Mangel passed for 368 yards and four touchdowns. Kris Copeland rushed for 77 yards on six carries, including a 50-yard score. Jarod Bowie was Mangel’s primary target. Bowie hauled in nine receptions for 206 yards and one house call.

Ty Maust had a game-high 10 tackles. Maust also tallied a breakup in his final stat line. CU had five sacks, with Noah Overstreet racking up two.

Inside the First Half
Concord’s Cayden Chambers coughed up a reception on the Mountain Lions’ first drive of the game that Woods picked up and ran back for a Wesleyan score. Concord answered on the ensuing possession after Mangel connected with Bowie for a 67-yard strike to even the score. The Mountain Lions assembled a nine-play, 89-yard drive to take a 13-7 advantage midway through the first quarter. The Bobcats responded with a 10-play drive that was capped off by a 29-yard touchdown reception by C.J. Washington from Payne. The Bobcats led 14-13 after the first quarter.

The Mountain Lions regained the lead following Mangel’s third touchdown pass of the afternoon. Cam Ceccotti made a 24-yard field goal to bring the Bobcats within three, 20-17. On Concord’s next drive, Copeland rumbled for a 50-yard score that gave CU a 27-17 lead with 2:52 left in the half. Wesleyan’s next drive stalled at the Concord 39-yard line. Payne pooched a punt that resulted in a touchback with 50 seconds remaining in the half. Concord scored just before the end of the first half and took a 34-17 lead into the locker room.

Inside the Second Half
The ‘Cats scored in less than two minutes to open the second half. Payne linked up with Tomlinson for a 25-yard touchdown reception to cut the deficit to 11 points. The WVWC defense forced a three-and-out and a fumble on the first two Concord drives to start the second half. After Ghameshlougy forced a CU fumble, Ceccotti drilled his second field goal of the afternoon that put Wesleyan within one score.

Wesleyan started the fourth quarter with Payne finding C.J. Washington for a four-yard touchdown reception on third and goal. The Bobcats attempted a two-point conversion that was unsuccessful and trailed by two with 14:46 to go. Woods intercepted a Mangel pass on the second play of Concord’s next drive. The Bobcats went three-and-out on the following drive. The Mountain Lions put together a 10-play, 67-yard drive that stalled at the WVWC eight-yard line. Taylor strip-sacked Mangel and kept CU off the scoreboard.

Concord’s defense held the Bobcats after the turnover and the Bobcats were forced to punt. The Mountain Lions decided to go for it on 4th down at the WVWC 20 and needed one yard to keep the drive going. Amir Franklin-Branch wrapped up the CU running back and forced a turnover on downs that gave the Bobcats the ball at their 20-yard line. Payne completed a clutch third-down pass to tight end Evan Hurt to set up the Bobcats inside Concord territory with 90 seconds remaining. Saint stepped in front of Payne’s next pass for an interception that moved Concord to 3-0 on the season.

Up Next
The Bobcats return to the road for a matchup versus West Liberty on Saturday (Sept. 24). Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

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