Manuel leads way for Wes­ley against TCNJ

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS - By Joe O’Gor­man jo­gor­man@tren­to­nian.com @j_o­gor­man819 on Twit­ter

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.”

GREGG SLABODA — TREN­TO­NIAN FILE PHOTO

Trevor Osler and the TCNJ of­fense failed to score for the sec­ond straight year against Wes­ley.

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