Ottawa Marquette’s basic approach to football worked to perfection Saturday at Westminster Christian.
Fullback Joe Wheatland powered to 111 yards on 19 carries and the Crusaders pounded out 365 yards rushing in a 34-8 victory over the Warriors in a game that was cut a minute short because of injuries that required two Westminster players to be taken to the hospital.
“We’re a wing-T team and we’ll run what we can get,” Marquette coach Tom Jobst sad. “[Saturday] it was the belly (series).”
Marquette (2-1, 2-1) pounded to 198 first-half rushing yards in the Northeastern Athletic Conference win, with only three runs covering more than 10 yards. It was a classic “three yards and a cloud of dust” scenario, although it was more like 4-5 yards each time Wheatland had it.
John Lechtenberg, Marquette’s 6-3, 210-pound quarterback, threw for a score and ran for two in the first half, but it was all set up by the 6-2, 200-pound fullback, Wheatland.
“He’s tough, he’s a big, strong kid and has good speed,” Jobst said.
Wheatland’s scored in the third quarter on runs of 7 and 4 yards after Lechtenberg ran in from 2 and 4 yards and threw a 12-yard TD pass to Sam Hettel in the first half.
“It may have looked like it, but it never felt like we were physically manhandled,” Westminster coach John Davis said. “When they did their inside wedge (blocking scheme), they’re masters at that.”
Westminster (1-2, 1-2) gained 98 of its 186 offensive yards on one play in the fourth quarter. Running back Xavier Brown went around right end following a goal-line stand by the Warriors defense. He took it 98 yards for the TD — and he injured his ankle on the run, but made it anyway.
“I was pretty upset that I was getting shut down early in the game, but it felt really good to get that 99- or 98-yard run off,” said Brown, who had 114 yards on 10 carries. “It lifted everybody up on the team. We just rallied behind that.
“And our defense picked it up late in the fourth quarter, which we had to work on.”
Brown credited wide receiver Connor Albrecht for throwing a key block to spring him on the run around right end, but Albrecht and quarterback Max Tucker were injured with just under a minute left on the same play.
Tucker threw a pass and was hit and suffered a possible concussion, while Albrecht was tangled up in the chains going for the pass near the sidelines and injured his leg. He had to be taken off on a stretcher.
Officials told the timekeeper to run off the final 56 seconds while Albrecht was attended to by trainers, then taken away in an ambulance.
“Both of them are extremely tough kids,” Davis said. “So if they’re complaining something is wrong.”
Davis couldn’t help admire the way his team kept fighting despite being down most of the game against a team with a larger roster and bigger players.
“We didn’t even have a weight room until about three weeks ago,” he said, adding, “we don’t have a die button.”