KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas Wesleyan’s irrepressible offense has seldom been better, and it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
Johnny Feauto (SR/Boulder, Colo.) threw five touchdown passes, Demarco Prewitt (SR/Menifee, Calif.) rushed for 230 yards and two scores, and Stevie Williams (JR/East Los Angeles, Calif.) caught six passes for 206 yards and three TDs as the No. 2-ranked Coyotes escaped with a heart-stopping 48-47 Kansas Conference victory over Avila on Saturday afternoon at Zarda Family Multisport Complex.
KWU didn’t secure its eighth victory of the season, seventh in the KCAC, until a 2-point conversion pass from Avila quarterback John Jacobs to Christian Hopkins fell incomplete in the back of the end zone with 1:39 left in the game, preserving a 48-47 lead.
The Coyotes finished with 643 total yards, and needed every one to prevail.
“Just an incredible effort from our young men, just kept playing all the way to the very end,” Coach Myers Hendrickson said. “We knew we were going to play a very good offensive team on the road that was coming off a bye (week) and had time. This was their Super Bowl and we found a way to win the game.”
It wasn’t easy, though. Jacobs, a sophomore, threw for 337 yards and six touchdowns, and wide out Devin Senerious had 10 catches for 187 yards and three touchdowns as the Eagles totaled 452 yards.
“Coach Mick (John Michaletti, defensive coordinator) and I were talking on the sideline and a lot of times it was great defense but just a perfect throw – dropping the ball in some pretty impressive places,” Hendrickson said of Jacobs. “Hats off to him, he made some great plays.”
The Coyotes also overcame four turnovers – two fumbles and two interceptions – and 14 penalties for 167 yards.
Hendrickson was especially pleased with the way his team didn’t wilt.
“It was a playoff-type atmosphere,” he said. “Things aren’t going to go your way, you’re playing a good team and a very, very talented quarterback.”
Feauto was 18 of 32 passing for 396 yards. Four of his five touchdown passes covered at least 41 yards. Prewitt, KWU’s All-American senior tailback who was limited to 62 yards on 24 carries last week at Southwestern, had his best game of the season with his yardage total coming on a whopping 44 carries. He scored on a 9-yard run in the second quarter and a 3-yard run in the third quarter.
“It was an outstanding football game by Demarco Prewitt,” Hendrickson said. “We put it in his hands and said ‘go win the game’ and that’s what he did over and over and over again. The offensive line did a fantastic job blocking, being very physical, and Demarco Prewitt did the rest.”
The Coyotes led most of the game but couldn’t put the Eagles resilient away. KWU took a 14-12 advantage into the second quarter after Feauto’s first touchdown pass to Williams that went 49 yards, and a 41-yard strike to Johnny Carmack (SR/Santa Clara, Calif.).
They had a 27-20 halftime lead as Feauto and Poe-Evans connected on a 12-yard touchdown pass and Prewitt’s first scoring run. Prewitt’s second touchdown and Feauto’s 84-yard touchdown bomb to Williams gave the Coyotes a 41-27 lead going into the fourth quarter. Feauto’s 60-yarder to Williams with 10:37 left proved to be game winner.
The Coyotes had scoring drives of 69, 73, 80 and 97 yards in the first half and the second half included a 98-yard drive.
“When you’re backed up (in field position) it flips the whole mindset,” Hendrickson said of the long drives. “That kind of kept us upbeat and kept us excited. We said ‘hey, we can score if we do our job.'”
Hendrickson said the defense was forced to overcome some field position obstacles. Avila’s first touchdown came after a Feauto interception was returned to the KWU 1-yard line.
“At times we could have given ourselves a little bit more of a buffer, a little bit more of a lead,” he said. “Our defense played hard all the way down to the last snap. If we wouldn’t have it would have been a different score.”
The Coyotes face another surging team next Saturday when McPherson comes to Graves Family Sports Complex for a 1 p.m. game. The Bulldogs (5-3 overall, 5-2 KCAC) defeated Saint Mary 49-27 Saturday in Leavenworth and has won five in a row.
KWU goes back on the road in two weeks to play No. 21 Sterling in Sterling. The Warriors were idle Saturday.
“I told our team after the game that this was an incredible win but it’s not going to going to get any easier,” Hendrickson said. “But there’s no group I’d rather do it with than these me here.”