Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Game Day:
Wabash wins battle of unbeatens

Last Saturday, I had another opportunity to visit the campus of one of Indiana's fine small institutions of higher education -- Wabash College. I photographed not only the nicely landscape grounds and buildings but a showdown of the last unbeaten teams in the North Coast Athletic Conference -- Wabash and Wittenberg. The winner would be declared conference champions for 2011.

The Little Giants prevailed, 28-17, scoring the first 21 points of the game ... and holding off a late challenge by the Tigers, an end zone block punt and touchdown sealing the decision. Wabash improved its record to 9-0 for the season and 6-0 in the league. It finishes the regular season Saturday in more dramatic fashion -- the storied annual meeting with DePauw University for the coveted Monon Bell. This year's tilt is at DePauw in Greencastle, Ind.

Today's post features some of the game shots, leading off with the Little Giants' first score of the game, a one-yard keeper by quarterback Chase Belton who, moments after nudging the ball over the plane of the goal line (shown in the lead photograph), had the ball knocked out of his grasp. For a look at a more complete gallery of shots, follow this link.

The next post will reflect my trip through the campus. Enjoy.

Above and below: A center snap sailed over the head of Wittenberg quarterback Ben Zoeller, forcing him to run backward to get the ball as Wabash defenders quickly approach to make sure Zoeller isn't able to advance the ball. He didn't; Zoeller wisely fell on it. 

Above: Not long after a would-be touchdown pass was called back on a holding penalty, Wabash quarterback Chase Belton scooted left and slipped past this Wittenberg's Jon Daniels to score this touchdown. 

Above: The Little Giants' Ian MacDougal is in fine form on this kickoff after the second Belton touchdown.

Above: Wittenberg kick returner Conner Wayne (22) was hit with such a jarring tackle by a Wabash special teams player that he coughed up the football. 

Above: The Tigers first ray of hope came with this 5-yard touchdown run by Corey Weber in the third quarter. 
Above and next two below: This Jonathan Horn reception of a touchdown pass from Belton in the second quarter was called back on a holding penalty. But soon afterward, quarterback Chase Belton scampered 4 yards and scored to give Wabash a 14-0 lead. 

Above: Wabash's Kyle Najar (16) blocked a punt by Wittenberg's Trey LaValley (92) in the end zone in the fourth quarter, and Najar's teammate Sean Hildebrant fell on the ball for the touchdown that put Wabash ahead by the final score, 28-17. 

Above: As Hildebrand (23) and teammates prepare to celebrate the blocked-punt touchdown, a photographer along the Little Giants' sideline is lending the game official an assist by declaring it a score.
Above: Although the weather was beautiful for football Saturday, sitting all day in the shade cast by the press box necessitated a little extra garb for the Wabash pep band. 

Above: An honors-studded helmet worn by Wabash offensive tackle Weston Kitley.

Above: Welcoming Little Giants football players onto the field before the game was this youngster attired in Wabash colors.

Above: Backlighting provides an element of drama in this picture of the bleachers in Byron P. Hollett Little Giant Stadium.

Above: The Wabash cheerleaders, doing what they do. 

Above and below: The Little Giants players join together for a chorus of the school song after the victory clinching the conference championship. Some players are a bit more moved to give their all to the vocals than others.

Above: A moving moment in the pregame introduction of football team seniors on Senior Day came when the parents of Josh Linthicum were introduced to the crowd. Josh would have been a senior this season; he died in January 2010, just after his second year of football, from complications during hip surgery.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! Your colors were vibrant... Their jerseys looked like they had been bleached white and painted fire engine red!

    I more than appreciated your tribute to the family of Josh Linthicum. What a thoughtful way to end this series, which would not be complete without.