Manuel leads way for Wesley against TCNJ
EWING » It’s been a few years since Mujahid Manuel stepped on the turf at Lions Stadium, but the former Hamilton High star did what he does best on every football field.
Starting at right guard for Wesley, the 6-foot-2 junior helped pave the way to a season-high 235 yards rushing for the Wolverines.
The ground game led to three scores and the Wolverines blanked The College of New Jersey, 33-0, on a warm Saturday afternoon in a New Jersey Athletic Conference game.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been on this field,” said Manuel. “It feels great to come home and get a win. It’s so great.”
TCNJ (0-3, 0-2 NJAC) has not scored against the Wolverines (1-1, 1-0 NJAC) since the second quarter of a game in 2015 game. The score was 41-0 in 2016.
TCNJ stayed away from the big play and moved the ball through the air, but the Lions were 0-for-2 in the red zone and struggled on third down converting just 6-of-17 attempts.
“We are starting to see that we might have to make so drastic moves,” said TCNJ coach Casey Goff. “We made some drastic moves on defense. We put in a new defense and we are going to be a 3-4 football team. If our kids can get the confidence that we can make plays against a team like this then we are going to put ourselves in better position.”
Manuel and the Wolverine offensive line put the reigning NJAC Rookie of the Year, E.J. Lee, in position to rush for a career high 188 yards on 18 carries and touchdown runs of 19 and seven yards.
Wesley QB Khaaliq Burroughs, who was starting for the first time, was 18-of-23 for 226 yards and a pair of TD passes. Burroughs was picked off twice by TCNJ’s Sam Jackson.
The Wesley defense was led by the nine sacks it delivered that never allowed Trevor Osler, the TCNJ quarterback, a lot of time to spot receivers. Stefon Woodruff led the Wolverines with four sacks.
One of the better chances for Lions came at the close of the first half.
They controlled the ball for the final 7:34 and had the ball on Wesley 12 with 24.8 second left in the half after Osler connected with Jack Clevenger for 10 yards. But, two incompletions and a sack saw time run out.
“That’s one that we have to capitalize on,” said Goff. “I know the clock is running down and we had two great shots. We had no timeouts and I thought the kids showed a lot of poise, but we need points.”
Osler was 22-for-42 and 177 yards, Khani Glover led the TCNJ ground game with 41 yards, Clevenger led the Lions in receptions with eight for 66 yards and punter Zach Warcola punted four times for a 39-yard average.
Kevin Hennelly led the defense with eight tackles with Max Busca and Troy Domenick each getting six.
“We are still figuring things out,” said Busca. “We had a completely difference defense and we are starting to feel as a unit that we are ironing things out. We wanted to take away the under routes.”
Despite the rocky start Busca sees some light at the end of the tunnel.
“There’s no frustration at all,” said Busca. “I think out time is coming real soon. We are trusting each other and we know what this team can do.”
Trevor Osler and the TCNJ offense failed to score for the second straight year against Wesley.