Football Defeated at Wesleyan, 52-21

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Football Defeated at Wesleyan, 52-21

EMMA STAPLETON/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS

EMMA STAPLETON/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS

EMMA STAPLETON/THE MIDDLEBURY CAMPUS

By LAUREN BOYD

The Panther Football team suffered its first loss of the season this past Saturday while on the road at Wesleyan, falling to the Cardinals 52-21. Though the team started the season with a loss, the players work to improve upon their game this upcoming weekend against Bowdoin.

Middlebury heavily relied on its passing game to increase its offensive yardage. In comparison to Wesleyan’s 155 passing yards, the Panthers recorded about 100 more passing yards than the Cardinals.

The first drive of the game emphasized the strength of the passing game for the Panther offense, as quarterback Jack Meservy led the team down the field in nine plays. Middlebury scored the first 7 points of the game in the first quarter.

Wesleyan, however, took the panthers initial momentum and flipped the game quickly, first answering with a touchdown of their own, and then using a Middlebury turnover to claim the lead.

By halftime, the panthers were down by 10 points, but could not make up for the deficit. Wesleyan hit the field stronger in the second half, outscoring the Panthers by 21 (21-0) in the third quarter alone. Both teams matched touchdown for touchdown in the 4th, leaving the final score 52-21.

Though Middlebury’s passing game was more impactful than Wesleyan’s, the total Panther offensive yards lacked the Cardinals’ running game posted on the field. They fell 293 yards to the Cardinals 358. This differentiation came as a result of Wesleyan’s ground game and panther turnovers.

Panther highlights include an impressive performance from senior linebacker Kevin Maxwell, who led Middlebury in tackles on defense. Senior Conrado Banky and junior Maxin Bochman each assisted quarterbacks Meservy and Will Jernigan ‘21 in the passing game, recording 61 and 52 yards, respectively.

Wesleyan intercepted 3 of Middlebury’s passes and recovered 1 panther fumble, which ended up aiding the Cardinal victory.

Senior wide receiver Jimmy Martinez views the loss as an opportunity to improve their game as a team.

“After Saturday, we realized that we just need to make more plays and take advantage of opportunities. In order to win this week, and win out like we plan to, more people need to step up,” Martinez said, “I’m positive that with more mental focus and a positive attitude going forward that we will begin to dominate.”

Though this past Saturday was a tough loss, Martinez and the team are excited for what lies ahead. With a whole season ahead of them, the panthers have time and room to make improvements.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t put it together this week, but I promise–we’ll make Bowdoin sorry they got off the bus,” Martinez said.

The Panthers will face Bowdoin on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for their home opener.

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