FB: An interception, multiple fumbles cost Wilkes the win


Kirsten Peters

Junior Derek Nelson fights for yards with under a minute left in the first half.

EDWARDSVILLE — The Wilkes University football team battled back-and-forth with the Misericordia Cougars on Saturday afternoon, but fell short in a tough loss 47-45. This loss causes Wilkes to fall to a 1-3 record and 0-2 in Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) play.

The Colonels had an electric start to the game, as they held the opening drive of Misericordia to a three and out. When the Colonels got the ball for the first time only three minutes into the first quarter, they rolled out a trick play. Wide Receiver Derek Nelson got a toss from quarterback Jose Tabora, and Nelson threw the ball deep to senior wide receiver Jeff Steeber, who came up with the catch. Freshman running back Jason Wiley fought his way into the endzone, rolling over a players back and earning his first career touchdown.

Misericordia wasted no time and answered right back with a 37-yard touchdown. But the extra point attempt was no good, leaving the Cougars trailing behind 7-6.

On the next drive, Tabora showed off his passing ability, as he connected with Nelson for 31 yards to the Misericordia one-yard line. Tabora finished the drive with a one-yard run into the end zone, extending the Colonels lead to 14-6. Misericordia would answer back before the first quarter ended, making the score 14-13.

Going into halftime the Colonels trailed 20-17, only putting up three points in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, the Colonels running game came out strong, as Wiley found the end zone for a second time, putting the Colonels back on top 24-20.

This Colonels lead would not last long, however, as Misericordia’s receiver Sam Gillison scored on a 68-yard touchdown, giving them the 27-24 lead.

Tabora started the fourth quarter off on the right foot, as he continued to display tremendous throwing talent. He dropped a perfect pass into the arms of Nick Yanik for a 16-yard touchdown catch, providing yet another lead change and putting the Colonels ahead 31-27.

Wilkes seemed to be in good shape, but Tabora made a costly mistake in the fourth quarter, throwing an interception on what seemed to be another scoring drive for the Colonels.

Misericordia took several minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter following this interception, and eventually found the end zone with their running game. With only six minutes left, the Colonels faced a nine-point deficit of 40-31.

Wilkes would not be denied and refused to go away easy. Tabora led the team down the field with several completions, eventually finding Steeber with less than two minutes to go, closing the gap to only two points at 40-38.

The Colonel faithfull was hopeful for a comeback, until Misericordia’s Gillison took the breath away from the Colonels, as he got another long touchdown completion for 77 yards. Misericordia capitalized on another opportunity and regained control of the game 47-38.

With time running out, the Colonels were able to score late, but that was just not enough, as Misericordia won the contest 47-45.

Although the second half of this game was plagued with fumbles and an ever so costly interception which seemed to give the edge to Misericordia, the Colonels showed their resiliency and determination to battle back time and time again. However, this loss stings as Wilkes has struggled to come out on top in close games this season.

Despite the loss, Tabora and the Colonels offense put up some strong numbers. Tabora himself had 410 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. Besides the fumbles, their running game helped contribute a great deal, as Wiley led the team in rushing yardage with 100 yards on the day and two touchdowns. The Colonels air attack by Tabora allowed Yanik, Steeber and Nelson to have over one hundred receiving yards on the day and one touchdown apiece, giving the Colonels confidence.

The Colonels continue their MAC play against 1-2 Alvernia this upcoming Saturday on the road in Reading, Pa.