DOVER, Del. – In a classic Route-13 Rivalry game, the Salisbury University football team came up just shy of toppling No. 5 Wesley College Saturday afternoon, giving the Wolverines all they could handle in a game that ended up in Wesley's favor, 30-27.
It marked the fifth time in series history that this contest has been decided by three points.
The Wolverines would strike back in the third quarter on a Kennard Squirrell 2-yard run to retake the lead, 21-17, but two more lead changes were still to come.
The Sea Gulls got a Jack Molloy 27-yard field goal on their next possession, after moving the ball 59 yards on eight plays, cutting the Wesley lead to 21-20 at the end of the third quarter.
The Wolverines would get those three points back early in the fourth quarter. After picking off a Dunbar pass, the Wesley offense moved backwards, losing 14 yards on the ensuing possession, thanks to sack of Wesley quarterback Joe Callahan by junior Steven Gamble. Jon Storck booted a 37-yard field goal, just one possession after having missed a 39 yarder, to push the lead back to four, 24-20.
The Salisbury offense would not go quietly, pushing down field for 84 yards on eight plays, all runs, capped off by junior Brandon Norwood's 31-yard scamper which started with a bobbled snap. Dunbar scooped the ball off the ground and got it to Norwood, who darted through the Wesley defense for the score. Following Molloy's point after, with five minutes showing on the clock, Salisbury held a 27-24 lead.
Wesley moved the ball 36 yards on its next drive before Salisbury sophomore Nick Anzallo brought the drive to an abrupt halt, picking off Callahan for the Sea Gulls' third interception of the afternoon. Salisbury would go three-and-out, milking the clock to just under two minutes before punting away.
The Wolverines (2-0) were pushed into a deep hole, at fourth-and-21 on Salisbury's 43-yard line, following a pair of incomplete passes and a sack, for a loss of 11 yards, by sophomore David Handy. But Callahan was able to launch a hail mary into the right side of the end zone, which was hauled in by Jeremiah Howe for the game-winning score with 52 seconds remaining in the contest.
Salisbury began the game by taking the opening kickoff and marching 75 yards for a score when senior Lonnie Liggins went in from 18 yards out for the game's first tally. After Wesley took a 14-7 lead, Molloy booted his first field goal, from 25 yards out, cutting the edge to 14-10 before Dunbar found Copenhaver for the score late in the second.
Dunbar had 15 carries for 70 yards while completing 2-of-8 passes for 80 yards. Copenhaver had two catches for 37 yards, while junior Isaiah Taylor had two receptions for 87 yards.
Anzallo had nine tackles, two solo, and a pass break-up to go with his interception, while senior defensive back Calvin Ford also had nine tackles, six of which were solo stops.
The Sea Gulls (0-2) will return to the field next Saturday, Sept. 21, for their final non-conference game of the regular season, as they travel to face North Carolina Wesleyan College. The game is slated to begin at 1 p.m.