Elmhurst , Ill. — The Wheaton Thunder football team defeated Gustavus Adolphus 42-21 in the first game of the 2004 season for both teams. Wheaton starts the year with a 1-0 record and extends its school-record regular season winning streak to 20 with the victory. Wheaton will host Greenville College next Saturday afternoon at 1 PM, while Gustavus Adolphus (0-1) will host Hamline on Saturday.
Wheaton tailback Garrett Granberg ran for a career-high 190 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns to pace the Thunder offense. Senior tailback Mark Hamstra carried the ball 10 times for 76 yards. Freshman quarterback Jeremy Chupp completed 25 of his 34 passing attempts for 231 yards with three touchdown tosses and one interception. Senior Brad Musso caught 13 passes for 138 yards with one touchdown grab, while fellow senior receiver Colin Sinclair made eight receptions for 54 yards with two catches in the end zone for touchdowns. Junior placekicker Andrew Day connected on field goal attempts of 28 and 30 yards.
Tailback Drew Stifter led the Golden Gusties’ offense with 78 rushing yards and one touchdown run, also adding a team-high of 55 receiving yards on four catches. Quarterback A.J. Bouquet started the game for the Gusties with nine completions on 15 passing attempts for 115 yards, while Jordan Stolp saw considerable time under center with five completions on 13 attempts for 88 yards with one touchdown.
Junior safety Muhammad Weusi made a team-high eight total tackles to lead the Thunder defense. Linebackers Jeff Grandy and Jared Heckendorn each made six total tackles, as did senior cornerback Caleb Walters . Heckendorn and senior defensive end Tim Cryer each made a team-high 1-1/2 tackles for lost yardage, as Cryer also collected five total tackles.
Defensive back Wade Wietgrefe led the Golden Gusties’ defense with 12 tackles and a team-high two tackles for lost yardage and two pass deflections. Defensive back Tyler Rinquist made 12 tackles and forced two fumbles for the guests. Senior linebacker Isaac Sieling made 11 total tackles and Brian Evans collected seven tackles with one for lost yardage.
Wheaton amassed 549 yards of total offense with 318 rushing yards and 231 passing yards. The Thunder averaged 7.1 yards per play on the day. The Golden Gusties totaled 318 yards of offense with 203 passing yards and 115 rushing yards.
The two teams battled back and forth for much of the game, as Wheaton started the scoring when Granberg broke free for a 42-yard touchdown run with 4:32 to play in the first quarter to give Wheaton a 7-0 lead. Gustavus Adolphus tied the game at 7-7 with 14:05 to play in the second quarter when Sifter scored on an 18-yard touchdown run. Musso scored on a 22-yard touchdown reception from Chupp with 11:35 to play in the second quarter to help Wheaton regain the lead 14-7. The Golden Gusties tied the game at 14-14 with 9:26 to play in the first half when Sean Smith caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Stolp. The Thunder took the lead for good when Sinclair caught an 11-yard fade pass in the end zone from Chupp to give the hosts a 21-14 lead with 5:05 left in the first half. Wheaton took a 24-14 advantage into halftime thanks to a 28-yard field goal by Day as the first half ended.
Gustavus Adolphus cut into Wheaton’s lead when Bouquet scored on a five-yard touchdown run with 9:27 left in the third quarter for a 24-21 Wheaton lead. The Thunder advantage increased to 27-21 with 1:41 left in the third quarter when Day connected on a 30-yard field goal attempt. With 10:37 left in the game Sinclair caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Chupp and the duo connected on the ensuing two-point conversion to increase Wheaton’s lead to 35-21. Granberg secured the win for the Thunder with a 16-yard touchdown run as 4:57 remained in the game to insure the 42-21 final advantage for Wheaton. (Story courtesy of Brett Marhanka, Wheaton Sports Information Director)