Minondo's Career Day leads Bishops

QB Nate Gardner, photo courtesy of Carl Lewis
QB Nate Gardner, photo courtesy of Carl Lewis

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. - Led by a career day from senior running back Adrian Minondo, the NC Wesleyan football team rolled to a huge 37-10 win over conference rival Methodist University (N.C.) on Homecoming Saturday afternoon.

Minondo rushed for a career high of 246 yards and 3 TDs as he almost out-gained the entire Methodist offense by himself to help the Bishops improve to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the conference while also clinching a winning conference record for the first time since the 2016 season.

"I'm proud of our guys!" said Head Coach Jeff Filkovski of the big win. "We challenged our guys to come out and play with emotion and intensity and they did a great job with that from the start. We sputtered a little in the second half, but it was great to see our defense stand tall vs. one of the top offenses in the league. Adrian had a huge day behind a dominant performance by our offensive line. Up front, our guys physically controlled the game."

Senior QB Nate Gardner directed the Bishop offense in the first half leading Wesleyan on four touchdown drives including ending an 11-play-73 yard drive with a 2 yard touchdown run near the end of the second quarter. Minondo ran for two touchdowns in the first half while freshman RB Jalen Mitchell also ran for one in the first quarter as the Battling Bishops put together a 27-3 lead at the break.

NCWC would add a Caleb Mann field goal in the third quarter while stopping MU twice at the goal line with the Monarchs (2-5, 2-3) fumbling once at the 1 yard line as they tried to score on the gritty Bishop defense. Wesleyan would allow one Methodist touchdown in the early part of the fourth, but otherwise held them to just 263 yards of offense. The Bishops piled up 510 yards of total offense in the win with Minondo punctuating the victory with an impressive 55 yard TD run to complete his day in the fourth quarter.

Also leading the Bishop offense was senior WR Trey Lancaster as he caught 7 balls for 81 yards while junior TE Ben Dorfman also caught 4 receptions for 48 yards. Sophomore RB Joseph Izaguirre also had a good day rushing for 93 yards on 11 carries as the entire Bishop offense rushed for 350 yards on the day.

Leading the way defensively was junior linebacker Isaiah Williams recording 8 solo tackles (9 overall) with a sack and 3.5 tackles for loss. Fellow Linebackers JT Lichtenberger and Antonio Johnson also combined for 13 tackles with defensive tackle James Parrish also adding a sack. Freshman DB Autavion Bell also returned an interception 55 yards near the end of the first half as he tried for a pick 6.

It was a rare victory over its in-state rival. "The win was really gratifying for us seniors after losing close games to Methodist the past three years," said linebacker JT Litchenberger, who racked up six tackles, one for a seven-yard loss.

NC Wesleyan will remain home to host Huntingdon College next Saturday on Senior Day at 1 p.m.