Wilmington started fast and only a weather delay could slow the Hurricane Friday night at Alumni Field in the varsity football season opener.
The Hurricane scored on the third play of the game and never looked back while registering a 42-12 win.
Third-year Hurricane head coach Scott Killen was pleased with his squad’s production in the first half.
“We came out with guns blazing. even though the kids are relatively young, we really didn’t know what to expect with the ‘Friday night lights’,” said Killen. “As a group, they played well and scored 35 points in the first half and then after the delay we came out strong with the first drive of the second half. It was a very strong effort.”
From a defensive standpoint, Killen felt his squad made the proper adjustments against the Panthers.
“I really expected a dogfight out there,” said Killen. “They (Little Miami) came out strong but we were able to contain them. It shows the value of film study. Our kids did a great job preparing for them and we made the proper adjustments.”
Killen’s defensive units kept Little Miami off the scoreboard until the final eight minutes of regulation play.
The game was delayed more than 60 minutes because of lightning. Though not in the area the lightning was visible to officials at the game and therefore the second half did not start on time.
Under the guidance of freshman quarterback Brady Evans, the Hurricane offense was in high gear. On the third play of the game, Evans hit paydirt. Another Brady — Henry in this case — kicked the extra point and just before the fans settled into their seats, Wilmington led 7-0.
Dylan Beaugard scored at the 7:08 mark of the first quarter and Chad Davis added another scoring run at 3:55 as Wilmington left little doubt of the outcome. Henry again added two PATs and it was 21-0 after one quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Evans scored again and with the Henry kick, it was 28-0.
To close out the first half scoring, Evans showed his arm with a 38 yard scoring strike to Tony Merritt. Henry again obliged with the point after and the two teams went to the lockerroom with the Hurricane holding a 35-0 advantage.
After the lengthy delay, the two teams came back out and the script was the same. Little Miami fumbled on its first possession with Presten Kessler recovering on the 44.
Beaugard nearly made it a two touchdown night but he was short of the end zone. However, Adam Phelps barreled into the end zone from 3 yards out. Henry’s kick made it 42-0.
Little Miami avoided a shutout by scoring with 7:50 left in the game. Kameron Bates caught a 31-yard touchdown pass and the Panthers converted the two-point attempt.
The Panthers scored again on the Wilmington reserves as Dylan Carpenter went in from nine yards out in the final 90 seconds.
Killen and the Hurricane now turn their attention to Greenville, a strong Division III school from the GWOC, who invades Alumni Field next Friday evening..
“They have a big offensive line and they have a lot of kids that can fly around,” Killen said. “We’re gonna have to execute and have a great week in practice. Our motto is the only one that can stop us is us. We’ll have to see what we can do against them.”
Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
Bill Liermann covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.