September 14, 2017
If you walked into McCully Stadium last week to watch the Thunder practice, you wouldn’t have guessed that they were preparing for a game against Kalamazoo College. That’s because they already had their sights set on Carthage, who the team will play this upcoming Saturday. After beating the Kalamazoo Hornets 60-6 in the 2016 season, it’s easy to see why the Thunder wasn’t worried about the matchup in 2017. The Thunder proved their swaggering attitude was well warranted after beating Kalamazoo 58-6 on Sept. 9, improving their record to 2-0.
Wheaton racked up a total of 516 yards on offense while holding the Hornets to 148 yards. Senior Sola Olateju ran for 87 of the Thunder’s 304 rushing yards and had a 59-yard touchdown on the second play of the Thunder’s opening offensive drive. Junior Stone Watson contributed 67 yards, including his own 59-yard touchdown.
Watson also played as a kickoff returner, taking the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown and returning a total of 115 yards. Sophomore Phillip Nichols returned a punt in the second half for 56 yards, resulting in a Thunder touchdown.
Senior Curtis McWilliams was the starting quarterback for the Thunder, going 4-for-8 with 35 yards. Sophomore Spencer Peterson went 3-for-3 with 44 passing yards. Junior Jesse Furrow lead the Thunder’s quarterbacks, going 10-for-13 with 133 passing yards and one touchdown. On the receiving end, senior Chase White had five catches, totaling 57 yards and one touchdown. Sophomore Adam Terrini put up 72 yards with three catches.
The Thunder defense also had an impressive night. Sophomore Dallas McRae led the defense with seven tackles while senior Luke Sahly and junior Eric Stevenson both had six tackles and a sack each. Sophomore Robby Schwartz had the only interception of the game during the third quarter. Wheaton held the Hornet offense to 42 rushing yards and 106 passing yards.
Saturday’s game was “a great opportunity for a lot of kids to play,” Head Coach Mike Swider said. As many teams do when playing weaker opponents, the Thunder put in several players that normally do not see as much playing time, allowing younger players to gain more experience at the collegiate level.
Yet no time is being wasted reminiscing on the game. “Our kids played well, but now we’ve got to move on. There’s no time to rest,” Swider said. Senior Noah Spielman echoed Swider’s attitude, saying that “Carthage is a totally different team than [Benedictine and Kalamazoo] …” The Thunder will be matching up against Carthage College this upcoming Saturday for their home opener in McCully Stadium at 6 p.m.