Story and photo courtesy of Western Oregon Athletics
MONMOUTH, Ore. – Scotland Foss’ interception in the endzone with 24 seconds remaining sealed the win for the Western Oregon football team as the Wolves rallied to defeat Simon Fraser, 20-16, in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action on Saturday. With the victory, WOU improved to 1-3 on the season, 1-2 in GNAC play, while Simon Fraser dropped to 1-3 overall, 0-3 in the league.
“The team really needed this win today and I was excited to see the way we responded in the second half,” head coach Arne Ferguson said. “We put a lot of effort into practicing offense and defense in the redzone this week; and, although we had one turnover on offense, I thought we did a good job overall. We came up with the big plays when they were needed.”
Trailing 10-0 after the first half, WOU’s rally began late in the third quarter when Cody VonAppen found Royce Spencer for a 59-yard strike to cut the score to 10-6 after the conversion failed.
VonAppen’s second touchdown pass of the contest gave the Wolves the lead for the first time as he connected with a wide-open Joe Harris on a 20-yard pass to cap a seven-play, 82-yard drive that gave WOU a 13-10 advantage with 9:08 left in the game.
After a Trey Wheeler 33-yard touchdown pass to Lemar Durant gave SFU a 16-13 lead, WOU grabbed the lead for good on VonAppen’s one-yard touchdown plunge with 2:55 remaining to put the Wolves ahead to stay, 20-16.
Wheeler led the Clan on an 11-play, 64-yard drive on SFU’s final possession of the game; however, his pass into the endzone was picked off by Foss to preserve the victory for the Wolves. The pick was the second of the day for the senior linebacker.
“We wanted the win and we were able to make the plays when we had to,” Foss said. “Hopefully, we can build on this victory as we continue through conference play.”
For the contest, the Clan held a 496-347 edge in total yards; however, WOU held a 2-1 edge in the turnover department.
VonAppen led the WOU attack as the senior quarterback accounted for all three Wolves touchdowns. In addition to a rushing touchdown, VonAppen went 19-of-32 through the air with 253 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
“Cody played really well this week,” Ferguson said. “He rebounded after last week and made the big plays when they counted. I was really pleased with his performance.”
Kenneth Haynes led all rushers with 52 yards on 13 carries as WOU held a slight edge on the ground, 52 to 45.
Bryce Peila led all defensive players with 11 tackles while Kraig Akins recorded nine tackles, including two for a loss, for the Wolves.
Western Oregon will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 29, as the Wolves travel to Azusa, Calif., to face Azusa Pacific in a GNAC contest at 6:00 p.m.