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Wheeling University

WHEELING — Even though 2020 was a year full of twists, turns, and everything else you can imagine, the Wheeling University Football team used it to move forward. For a program in its second year of Mountain East Conference Competition, getting out on the field, and getting reps was the most important thing.

Luckily, they were able to do just that, playing their 2020 schedule in the spring of 2021. In total, they got four games in and split the contests going 2-2, and hitting some milestone victories. The Cardinals defeated rival West Liberty University for the first time and set a new points record, scoring 42 points in the game.

While the team is making positive strides, so too are some of the key pieces on the field. Junior Defensive Back Rich White lll, who was just named to the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District Super Region One Team, had a career year in 2020. White finished fourth in the Mountain East Conference (MEC) in solo tackles (58) and 14th in tackles per game (7.4). He was Wheeling’s top defensive back during the shortened season, with 15 passes defended while breaking up 14 of them and having one interception.

On the offensive side of the ball, Wheeling saw a quarterback battle last season, with three different guys trying to lay claim to the starting QB job. Junior Tyler Sprouse leads the group and is the only one to appear in all four games last season. He was 46-100 with 637 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 159.3 yards per game. Freshmen Brennon Norris and Jalen Lea also played in three games each last season. Lea was the most accurate of the three quarterbacks, with a 50.79% accuracy rate, and threw for eight touchdowns while averaging 185 yards per game. Norris added one touchdown and went 13-32 with 84 yards passing. With no clear-cut starter this season, the QB battle will be something to watch as the team goes through training camp.

They will open the season on the road when they take on Seton Hill in their opener, and then open up MEC play the next week when they play their home opener against Notre Dame College. It is a stretch where they will play three of four games at home against Notre Dame (OH), Alderson-Broaddus, and West Virginia Wesleyan.

They finish October with two more home games against West Liberty (Oct. 23rd) and Concord University (Oct. 30th). They will wrap up the 2021 season with two road games, finishing up the year at Fairmont State on November 12th.

Head Coach Zac Bruney had his players report earlier this month and entered camp with the mindset of trying to apply pressure on their opponents.

There will be competition at almost every position in camp as Wheeling looks to make its presence known in the MEC.

It is a challenge that Bruney and his players thrive in and are looking forward to in 2021.

The season opens against Seton Hill on September 2nd, beginning their fourth season as a varsity program.

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