The Wolves looked as if they had something to prove Saturday after suffering that heartbreaking 10-7 loss last year to Colorado St- Pueblo in the final four. They took on the Catawba Indians in Salisbury, North Carolina in their first game of the 2015 season and came out on top 44-13 as a crowd of 2,000+ looked on.
Will Hall’s 4th ranked wolves looked outstanding in all three aspects of the game. The offense, led by Senior Dallas Dickey, amassed 390 yards with an average of 6.2 yards per play. The defense only allowed 145 yards with a mere 2.5 yards per play and special teams even pitched in for a touchdown.
Not to be overshadowed by Dickey’s phenomenal 15-17, 204 yard, 3 touchdown performance is freshman running back Aares McCall out of Grayson, Ga. The speedy McCall rushed for 107 yards on only 10 carries in his first collegiate game. The offensive line did an excellent job clearing up holes for McCall.
UWG scored the first points of the matchup after receiving excellent field position from junior running back Telvin Brown’s punt return. Dickey came out strong the first drive, racking up 38 of UWG’s 41 yards. A few plays after gaining possession, UWG was on the board due to a 10-yard touchdown run by Dickey. The Wolves then converted the two-point conversion to give them an 8-0 lead with 10:32 left in the first.
The offense stalled for a while after this opening drive. West Georgia fumbled three times in the first half. Catawba capitalized on these opportunities, but luckily for UWG; the defense held them to just two field goals. This gave the Wolves an 8-6 leading heading into the second quarter.
In 2014, every opposing team had to make sure their specials teams units were aware of kick returner Denarius Appling. Telvin Brown proved Saturday why he should now be the one to watch out for on UWG’s special teams units. On the first possession of the 2nd quarter, Brown exploded for a 66-yard punt return touchdown. After another successful two-point conversion, the Wolves found themselves with a 16-6 lead early in the second. Catawba fought back and scored a touchdown with 4:21 left to play in the half, and the teams went into halftime with West Georgia up 16-13.
But that would be the last points the Indians would score as Dickey and the Wolves once again came out strong, scoring 28 unanswered points after halftime. The first touchdown was a 47-yard bomb from Dickey to Qa Walker giving them a 23-13 lead. The very next possession, Dickey found Shaq Hall for a 29-yard touchdown pass. The backup, Will Garrett, took over for Dickey in the fourth, throwing for a touchdown as well as running one in which wrapped up scoring for the afternoon.
Senior Shaq Hall had a monstrous game for the Wolves, hauling in 8 receptions for 79 yards and one score. Qa Walker showed his big playmaking ability, hauling in two catches for 69 yards and a score. He also finished with 80 kick return yards, giving him 149 all-purpose yards for the game.
West Georgia’s defense, who only lost 4 starters from a year ago, did not give up any points in the second half. As I mentioned earlier, they only gave up 145 yards all game, 97 on the ground and 48 in the air. They performed very well on third down, holding the Indians to just 2 successful attempts out of 15 total. The UWG secondary had two interceptions, one coming from Junior Lorenzo Floyd and another from freshman Jakyron Young. Senior linebacker Marion Chapman led the defensive charge Saturday with 7 tackles and Alex Armah added two sacks to go along with his touchdown on offense.
Once UWG shakes off the early-season jitters and starts taking care of the ball, look to see their offense reach its full potential. With all this freshman talent and useful experience, it seems as if UWG football fans can expect great things from their beloved Wolves this year. West Georgia’s home opener is this Saturday where they will take on Miles at 7PM. UWG defeated Miles last year by a score of 26-0.