By Jay Simon; The Whetstone
Junior defensive tackle Shymere Vessels was devastated last season after the Wolverine football team went 7-4 during their first season without head coach Mike Drass, who died the previous spring.
“I want revenge on every team we lost to, especially since we were better than all those teams,” he said. “We allowed ourselves to let that happen, but this year we have a chip on our shoulder.”
Wesley College football is known outside of Dover as a powerhouse, so it was unusual when the team lost four games by no more than two points last season.
Wesley College mourned the death of head coach Mike Drass heading into the season. Drass led the team to the playoffs the past 13 seasons, six semi-playoff appearances, and as NJAC champions for the 2015-2017 seasons.
Last year’s post season, Wesley didn’t make playoffs.
Chip Knapp took over for Drass last season as head football coach. Knapp said he is looking to improve the things the team didn’t take care of last year.
“The transition was challenging for everyone,” he said. “From Coach Drass to me. He was the heart and soul of football here for so long, so I have to figure out how to fill that void.”
Senior safety Coray Williams said this is the year the team will come back. Four weeks into the season, Wesley football has not disappointed, winning its first three games.
“Going 1-0 each week and improving every game,” he said. “If we do that, we will be fighting to win the conference again and then head to the NCAA playoffs.”
Wesley football lost three of their games last year by one point.
“Communication is key for us,” sophomore offensive tackle, Brandon Bradford said. “If we all aren’t on the same page, then it won’t be good. We have a really good work ethic and are dedicated to finding a way to win.”
The football team wants to win every game, but senior quarterback Jon Mullin has one team in mind.
“Rowan University has been on my mind ever since we lost,” he said. “They beat us by one point on their Homecoming game, but they come to us for our first home game. It will be a good one.”
The team defeated Rowan 21-20 on Oct. 5
Mullen said the victory was huge.
“It was our first conference game,” he said. “It pushes it up in the rankings (eighth in the nation). Beating them by one definitely wasn’t the plan (after being defeated the previous year by one) but it was crazy that it happened to go down like that.”
The Wolverines won their Homecoming game Oct. 26, defeating Montclair State 20-17, becoming 6-1 for the season.
Two of their wins were at home, four were away.
There are three games left in the regular season.