The Wilmington Hurricane got off to a quick start at Gardner Park Friday night and defeated a Washington Blue Lion team that refused to give up by a score of 31-15.
Wilmington was able to march down the field on two out of its first three drives, taking a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Hurricane quarterback Cameron Coomer used his arm and legs to move the ball on the Washington defense.
The first drive was highlighted by a throw to Chris Custis, who ran down the sideline to the Blue Lion 35-yard line. The drive was completed by a 35-yard touchdown run by Malik Scott, who bounced off several tacklers before scoring.
Following a three-and-out by Washington, the Blue Lion defense was able to force a three and out of their own despite good field position by Wilmington. The Hurricane forced another three and out, followed by a nice punt return by Coomer to Wilmington’s 44-yard line.
On the first play of the drive, Coomer then kept the ball and ran it all the way down to Washington’s 36-yard line. Following another nice run by Scott to the 13-yard line, Coomer completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Carter Huffman. Another converted extra point made the score 14-0 with 5:37 to go in the first quarter.
After Wilmington’s second scoring drive, the Blue Lions defense got a lot stingier, making it difficult for the Hurricane to move the ball as easily.
With just under eight minutes to go in the second quarter, Washington forced the Hurricane to punt and took over the ball at their own 35. The drive got off to a nice start with a throw by quarterback Ethan Rogers-Wright to wide receiver Eli Lynch, who had a big game, for a big gain. On a fourth and one from around Wilmington’s 30-yard line, running back Jamie McCane, who was very productive in the Blue Lion ground game, made a key conversion and a long run.
A few plays later, Rogers-Wright made a throw to the corner of the end zone, which was snagged by wide receiver Jerome Mack for a touchdown. The extra point by Grant Kuhlwein made it 14-7 with 5:19 to go in the first half.
The Blue Lions subsequently forced another punt and were able to work their way down the field to Wilmington’s 31-yard line. A pass attempt into the end zone, however, fell incomplete as the second quarter expired with a 14-7 score.
After forcing a three-and-out on the first drive of the third quarter, Wilmington took over and promptly scored on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Coomer to Isaiah Rigling, giving the Hurricane a 21-7 lead.
It appeared for a moment that the Blue Lions might be in business after McCane recovered a punt fumbled by Wilmington at the Hurricane 42-yard line. However, the drive stalled and a fourth and seven pass fell incomplete.
After the Blue Lion defense again forced Wilmington to punt, Washington suffered a turnover of their own when the Hurricane forced a fumble. The ball rolled into the end zone and Jordan Macik recovered it for a Wilmington touchdown. Following the extra point, Wilmington was up 28-7 with just over five minutes to go in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter began with Wilmington’s Rigling intercepting a long pass in the middle of the field. The Hurricane took advantage of the turnover with a long pass down the sideline to Huffman. Although the Blue Lion defense made a stand, Rory Bell converted a 41-yard field goal to make it 31-7.
Later in the fourth, Washington stopped Wilmington on downs at their own 28-yard line with just over six minutes to go. The Blue Lions capitalized with a long pass from Rogers-Wright to freshman wide receiver AJ Dallmayer and a nice completion to Lynch. On second and 10 from Wilmington’s 27, Rogers-Wright found McCane on a short pass. McCane made a remarkable run down the sideline, breaking several tackles all the way into the end zone for a Blue Lion touchdown.
On the two-point conversion, Jerome Mack played quarterback and found Drew Moats in the end zone, making the score 31-15. With just over five minutes to go Washington tried an onside kick that the Hurricane recovered immediately. The Blue Lions got the ball back one more time, but were unable to advance it up the field.
The Blue Lions, now 3-2 overall, will open Frontier Athletic Conference play next week at home against Chillicothe. The Cavaliers lost Thursday night to Logan, 18-7 to fall to 1-4.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.