Football clinches first win 30-27 in overtime against LVC

Kirsten Peters, Co-Sports Editor

Following a 12-game losing streak, the Wilkes University football program finally broke their dry spell with an intense 30-27 overtime win against Lebanon Valley College on Saturday, Sept. 8. The victory not only revived the Colonels from last year’s 0-10 season, but it ended a losing streak against the Flying Dutchmen that stretched back to 2010.

Although the Colonels came out on top, the game did not start out in their favor. In the first quarter, Lebanon Valley scored on their first two possessions of the game, giving them the early 14-0 lead. However, Wilkes proved to be resilient, as they continued to fight back against the Dutchmen.

On the offensive side, junior quarterback José Tabora, Jr. proved himself to be essential to the Colonels’ victory. Tabora led the Colonels down the field on first and goal, allowing freshman running back Kelvin Gonzalez to take a toss to the right side into the endzone for his first career touchdown.

With Wilkes trailing 14-7 heading into the second quarter, Tabora continued to lead the pack, driving the Colonels down the field before finding junior fullback Matt Rosi for his first career touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.

Despite the Colonels’ ability to tie the game, the Flying Dutchmen quickly responded and changed the momentum of the game once again, kicking a 40-yard field goal to take the 17-14 lead going into halftime.

As the second half started, so did the Colonel offense. A 14-yard touchdown by junior wide receiver Derek Nelson put the Colonels ahead 21-17 in this back-and-forth game. During Lebanon Valley’s next possession, junior linebacker Bud Moyer and sophomore defensive lineman Pat Ricci flew the Flying Dutchmen’s quarterback into the ground for a sack on third and two. Stopping the Flying Dutchmen proved to be crucial as the Colonels were able to kick a 22-yard field goal to increase their lead to 24-17 with just under three-and-a-half minutes left on the clock.

Although the Colonels appeared to be approaching their first victory of the season, the Flying Dutchmen changed the momentum of the game once again and made the Colonels work even harder for the highly anticipated win. With only 22 seconds remaining on the clock, Lebanon Valley was able to score a touchdown, tying the game at 24 and sending them into overtime.

The Flying Dutchmen were able to gain the 7-24 lead with a field goal in overtime; however, the Colonels knew that a touchdown would win the game. With just 25 yards to go, the Colonels worked their way to the one-yard line, where Tabora attempted two quarterback sneaks, with the second successfully getting him across the line and into the endzone for the 30-27 win.

As a result of Tabora’s remarkable showing, his stat line proved to be impressive. He finished the day 27-of-40 for 337 yards through the air with two touchdowns and zero interceptions, accounting for 426 of the team’s 470 yard offense. Tabora’s performance earned him the MAC Football Offensive Player of the Week title as of Sept. 9.

The Colonels victory marked the first win for new head coach Jonathan Drach and ended the losing streak that dated back to 2016. This milestone is indicative of the new era of Wilkes football that Drach has been preaching about.

“These guys really are all heart and have no quit,” said Drach on Twitter following the game. “They earned it today.”

Following their monumental win this week, Wilkes football will look to win back-to-back games next week as they take on Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pa. on Sept. 15.