Prince Avenue Christian has become a familiar foe for Wesleyan, with five games between the two Class A Private teams in the last three years.
The last meeting didn’t go so well for the Wolves, who lost a decisive 50-3 decision to the eventual state champion Wolverines in the Class A Private semifinals last December.
Now, Wesleyan will try to get a measure of revenge as it goes on the road to Athens to take on Prince Avenue in the sixth confrontation between the two squads in four seasons Friday, Sept. 17.
It’s been all Prince Avenue Christian in the series so far, with the Wolverines winning four of the five meetings.
Two of those games have been held in the state playoffs, including Wesleyan’s 50-3 loss as well as another defeat at the hands of the Wolverines 42-27 in a second-round contest in 2018.
However, Wesleyan coach Franklin Pridgen said his team is not motivated by a desire for revenge.
“I don’t really think that’s our motivation,” Pridgen said. “I think our motivation is that they’re the next team on our schedule and we want to continue to be state contenders as we have been in recent years. To measure yourself against the defending state champion is a great way to determine where you are and whatever improvement needs to be made. I think our motivation is they got to where we wanted to be last year and so we’re going to measure ourselves against them this year.”
Wesleyan has resumed its winning ways at the beginning of the 2021 season with a 2-1 record – opening the season with a 31-0 victory over Mount Pisgah Christian on Aug. 20, then losing 13-6 to Decatur on Aug. 27 before bouncing back with a 29-7 over Douglass in its most recent game on Sept. 3.
“Right now, I’m cautiously optimistic,” Pridgen said. “We have a lot of new players, a lot of young players, so I think inexperience is our biggest adversary. We’re learning what it means to capitalize on opportunities in games. We did that in our first game (against Mount Pisgah) and we did that (Sept. 3) against Douglass High School. We did not do that against a very good (Class) AAAAA Decatur team back on Aug. 27. We are emerging, I would say. We’re not where we want to be. But we are growing in practice every week and I like very much where we are. Where we end up is still way too early to tell, but I certainly like our direction so far.”
Kicker/punter Brooks Sturgeon, a N.C. State walk-on commitment, has gotten his senior season off to a strong start with six field goals in eight attempts –including one for 50 yards.
Senior quarterback Jett Miller has completed 46 of 68 passes for 443 yards and two touchdowns, junior running back Will Tucker leads the Wolves in rushing with 230 yards on 37 carries and two touchdowns and junior wide receiver Thomas Cook leads the team in receiving with 11 receptions for 170 yards .
Junior outside linebacker Trent DeBow (22 tackles), senior strong safety Jay Black (17 tackles) and senior outside linebacker Byrne Ahrenkiel (16 tackles) have spearheaded the Wesleyan defense.