The Wheaton Football team began their quest for the National Championship with a bang on Saturday, defeating Benedictine 57-14. Rainy conditions didn’t seem to hinder the Thunder as they gained 545 yards of offense, including an astonishing 331 yards on the ground, while holding Benedictine to 210 total yards.
Senior quarterback Curtis McWilliams made his first start for the Thunder, but rainy conditions and the lopsided score limited him to 11 passing attempts (six complete) for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Sola Olateju racked up a remarkable 170 yards and two scores on eight carries.
In addition to holding Benedictine to 210 yards, the Thunder Defense put up seven points on a 95-yard pick-six by Senior DB Tyler Sigler, as well as a safety.
The Thunder special teams were solid as well, as senior kicker Stefan Knoerr made two field goals and five extra points, earning him CCIW Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
The 57 points scored represented the most ever in a season opener in Wheaton’s football program history. In short, the Thunder dominated. Still, as is often the case in season openers, the Thunder showed signs of rust. Wheaton gave up 155 yards on 14 penalties and lost the time-of-possession battle. They will need to improve these stats if they hope to make a deep playoff run.
Overall, Head Coach Mike Swider thinks this game showed what his team is capable of. “We showed our offense is pretty explosive,” he said. “You can see that there’s tremendous opportunity for us to score points and score them quickly.” Yet he cautioned his team about getting too high on themselves. “We can’t look past … the only thing worse than a team that doesn’t think they can win, is a team that doesn’t think they can be beaten.”
The Thunder will be back in action on Saturday, as they head up to Michigan to take on Kalamazoo University.
All stats courtesy Wheaton Athletics