Pioneers dominate Wilmington for 63-21 win, sixth straight win

JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times Marietta College's Kyle Gallagher (95) takes down Wilmington running back Malik Sims during a college football game Saturday at Don Drumm Stadium. Marietta won, 63-21.

Darrien Fields was walking around with a crown on his head after Marietta College’s 63-21 win against Wilmington Saturday at Don Drumm Stadium.

“Fitting,” said MC head coach Andy Waddle.

It’s been a season of royalty so far for Fields and his Pioneer teammates, who are off to their first 6-0 start since 1920. Marietta’s senior quarterback was 19 for 21 passing for 208 yards and five touchdowns and was named Homecoming King at halftime.

“It’s a pretty good day to say the least,” Fields said.

Asked how being 6-0 feels, Fields added, “It feels like it’s about time. We’ve been putting all this work in and setting the foundation for it and we knew it’d pay off sooner or later. Now that it’s paying off it’s a little bit relieving, but we do have to keep our foot on the pedal. We’ve never been 7-0 before and we’ve also never beat (next week’s opponent) John Carroll before. Going down there is going to be a huge challenge for us, but we’re up to it.”

JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times Marietta College's Justin Bell (10) carries the ball during a college football game against Wilmington Saturday at Don Drumm Stadium.

Running back Tanner Clark eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season with a 15-carry, 125-yard performance and had two touchdowns.

Marietta is excited about the great start but knows big challenges await the final four weeks with games against John Carroll, Otterbein, Baldwin Wallace and Mount Union left. Those are the four teams that beat Marietta a year ago.

“You expect to be 6-0, but when you’re finally here it’s a whole new feeling,” said senior left tackle Caleb Riggleman.

“It’s kind of like a mountain top thing, every week is a little bit better as you keep on climbing.

“Great win. 63-21 is awesome, but there are a lot of things we can do a lot better. There’s always stuff to fix.”

JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times Marietta College's Robert Nelson (87) goes up to catch a touchdown pass during a college football game against Wilmington Saturday at Don Drumm Stadium.

Riggleman and his fellow offensive linemen helped the Pioneers rack up 505 yards of total offense.

Clark got things started with a 15-yard TD run before Fields’ 8-yard scoring strike to Robert Nelson made it 14-0 in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Fields threw a 2-yard touchdown to tight end Bobby Cashaw and Clark rumbled into the end zone from 4 yards out to make it 28-7.

Waddle talked earlier in the week about the importance of winning the end of the half and the Pioneers did just that. Nelson outleaped three Wilmington defenders to haul in Fields’ deep shot from 37 yards out to score with no time left on the clock. MC took a 35-7 advantage into half time.

“I thought we started fast,” Waddle said.

“The play at the end of the half was big.”

In the third quarter, Fields connected with Maguire Morris on touchdown throws of 18 and 19 yards to stretch the lead to 49-14. Late in the fourth quarter, Justin Bell rushed for a 10-yard touchdown before backup quarterback Kyle McSweeney threw a 15-yard TD pass to Billy Frauens to give the Pioneers their highest point total of the season.

Wilmington’s scoring came on a pair of touchdown passes from Kyle Barrett to Luke Richardson (3 and 71 yards) and another to Zayne Hart (14 yards). Barrett finished 21 for 30 for 253 yards. He was intercepted once by Javi Zaragoza for the only turnover in the game.

For the second straight week, Marietta’s top receiver Andrew Barker was out with an injury. Seven other Pioneers caught passes in his absence.

“That’s the game of football,” Waddle said. “Andrew is a special player but there are always guys working hard behind the scenes waiting for their opportunity. Tanner Clark was one of those guys a year ago. We saw a taste of Kyle McSweeney this year. You hope that you’re recruiting guys and developing guys so that when their opportunity comes they’re able to step in and not miss a beat.”

Fields has missed having his roommate out there the last two games but praised Marietta’s other receivers for not missing a beat.

“It’s huge,” he said. “To us, it’s not even that they’re stepping up, it’s just their turn now. We have a lot of guys that can do a lot of things here. It was only a matter of time before they’d get to showcase that.”

Fields entered the week leading the Ohio Athletic Conference in completion percentage. He completed 90.4 percent of his passes Saturday and has 17 touchdowns to three interceptions this season.

Riggleman said Fields does most of his damage pre-snap.

“Darrien, a lot of what he does that goes unseen is mental,” he said. “He sees defenses, breaks them down and picks apart what’s our best play and what’s our best look. We might have a good look on and he’ll get us to a better look.”

Waddle was impressed with the Homecoming crowd and atmosphere at Don Drumm.

“Awesome,” he said. “It’s awesome. This is what you hope that it can be. This is what you imagine it can be. The support’s been great and hopefully it continues.”

At Don Drumm Stadium

Marietta College 63, Wilmington 21

WC (1-5) 0 7 7 7 — 21

MC (6-0) 14 21 14 14 — 63

M: Tanner Clark 15 run, Jimmy Embrescia kick, 11:45 1st

M: Robert Nelson 8 pass from Darrien Fields, Embrescia kick, 9:27 1st

W: Luke Richardson 3 pass from Kyle Barrett, Tyler Butcher kick, 12:57 2nd

M: Bobby Cashaw 2 pass from Fields, Embrescia kick, 9:47 2nd

M: Clark 4 run, Embrescia kick, 4:00 2nd

M: Nelson 37 pass from Fields, Embrescia kick, :00 2nd

W: Richardson 71 pass from Barrett, Butcher kick, 14:15 3rd

M: Maguire Morris 18 pass from Fields, Embrescia kick, 10:06 3rd

M: Morris 19 pass from Fields, Embrescia kick, 3:55 3rd

W: Zayne Hart 14 pass from Barrett, Butcher kick, 8:42 4th

M: Justin Bell 10 run, Embrescia kick, 6:34 4th

M: Billy Frauens 15 pass from Kyle McSweeney, Embrescia kick, 3:31 4th

Team stats


First downs 18 26

Rushes-yards 31-112 33-235

Passing yards 253 270

Total yards 365 505

Comp-att-int 21-31-1 23-25-0

Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0

Penalties-yards 10-95 6-51

Punts-average 3-29 1-19

Individual stats

Rushing: WC: DJ Chambers 16-57; Gino Hinton 5-23; Barrett 1-13; Malik Sims 6-12; Aaron Johnston 2-4; MC: Clark 15-125; Bell 6-45; Gage Giovengo 1-11; Fields 5-33; Howie Reid 4-33; McSweeney 2-(-2); Passing: WC: Barrett 21-30-1, 253 yards; Samuel Coleman 0-1-0, 0 yards; MC: Fields 19-21-0, 208 yards; McSweeney 4-4-0, 62 yards; Receiving: WC: Richardson 4-99; Ace Taylor 7-72; Hinton 3-27; Chambers 3-16; Itika Wynn Jr. 1-17; Hart 1-14; Matt Creditt 1-12; Sims 1-(-4); MC: Nelson 6-79; Morris 6-69; Ryan VanMeter 4-47; Billy Frauens 2-33; Parker Caretti 2-32; Bell 1-12; Cashaw 2-(-2)

Next games: Baldwin Wallace at Wilmington, 1:30 p.m. Saturday; Marietta at John Carroll, 1:30 p.m. Saturday