Wilmington’s offensive and defensive lines made big plays Friday night as the Hurricane defeated Miami Trace, 35-7, in South Central Ohio League action at Alumni Field.
The Wilmington offensive line was tough in the trenches while the defensive line came up big repeatedly, thwarting Miami Trace on several fourth down opportunities, enabling Wilmington to remain unbeaten in SCOL action.
Wilmington is 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the league. Miami Trace drops to 5-3 overall and 2-3 in league play.
By virtue of Clinton-Massie’s narrow victory, 14-13 at Chillicothe, it will be a showdown between the two unbeaten squads next Friday night when Wilmington travels to Frank Ireland Field at Clinton-Massie. Both teams are 5-0 in the league.
Wilmington got on the scoreboard from the opening possession, marching 71 yards on nine plays to pay dirt.
Adam Phelps broke the ice at the 7:48 mark of the first quarter when he waltzed into the end zone from the 3. Brady Henry’s extra point kick put WHS on top 7-0.
While the WHS offense stalled, the defense picked up the slack by forcing Miami Trace to a trio of three-and-out possessions in the first quarter.
However, Wilmington’s offense had a turnover inside the 5 when Miami Trace recovered a fumble. The Panthers offense was unable to sustain a drive.
As the team refreshed following the end of the first quarter, the Hurricane took the break time to rejuvenate its offense. On the first play of the second quarter, Brady Evans threw a perfect pass to a wide open Matt Smith who finished the 68 yard play in the end zone. Henry’s kick made it 14-0 just 10 seconds into the second period.
Miami Trace had a big pass play — Skyler McDonald to Tyrae Pettiford — but it was wiped out by an offensive pass interference penalty.
DeAndre Pettiford then intercepted a pass by Evans, but — again — a Miami Trace penalty wiped out the play.
Following the interception erased by penalty, Phelps ripped off a big run to the 17. That helped set-up the third WHS touchdown, an Evans to Beaugard 8-yard pass with 7:52 to play in the half. Henry made it 21-0.
Then Wilmington pulled off a surprise onside kick with Matt Smith recovering. The Hurricane was unable to do anything with it as DeAndre Pettiford came up with an interception, a turnover that was not overturned by penalty.
With its strongest outing of the season, the Wilmington defense was simply overpowering Miami Trace in the first two quarters. WHS did not allow a first down in the first half.
Evans and Beaugard hooked up on a long pass play that put the Hurricane in scoring position again as the close of the first half neared. Wilmington put the game seemingly out of reach when it converted a 4th and goal from the 1. Ames bulled his way into the end zone with 1:46 to go in the half. Henry made it 28-0.
Evans finished with 161 yards and two TDs passing in the first half. Dylan Beaugard and Grant Mayer nearly had interceptions for the Hurricane in the first half. Beaugard did come up with his interception late in the third quarter.
The WHS defense made sure the halftime break didn’t take away its momentum as it halted Miami Trace on a big fourth down play early in the third to keep the score at 28-0.
It didn’t stay 28-0 for long as the Wilmington continued its onslaught. An Evans to Beaugard pass play keyed the scoring drive, which ended as Ames went 32 yards for his second TD of the night. The Henry kick at 7:04 made it 35-0.
That put the game in running-clock mode and time slipped away quickly. But the Panthers avoided the shutout when Tiante Connell rushed his way into the end zone with 3:17 to play in the game. With the Blake Pittser extra point kick, it was 35-7.
The Panthers are at home next week to take on the Hillsboro Indians.
The Indians (1-7 overall, 1-4 SCOL) beat East Clinton last night, 28-14.