WILMINGTON —A couple of streaks for the Wilmington College football team ended with Saturday’s heart-stopping 37-30 overtime win against Capital at Townsend Field on the WC campus.
The victory marks the first time Wilmington has defeated Capital on the gridiron since 2000, when the Quakers prevailed 34-27.
More impressive is the end of a 40-game OAC losing streak for the Quakers, dating back to a Max Gabbard field goals that gave WC a 13-12 win over Marietta on Oct 20, 2012.
“I’m not shocked that we won the game, only with the type of ending that it was,” said WC head coach Bryan Moore in his post-game comments. “Tonight was a very big step for this team. A lot of young men took a big step right before our eyes, and they made big plays. The difference between winning and losing is so this and we overcame many of those things.”
Wilmington improves its record to 2-1 overall, 1-1 in the OAC. Capital falls to 1-2 on the season, 1-1 in the conference.
For Moore, the victory meant more than just a “1” in the “W” column.
“Throughout the game, it was a matter of we’re not gonna chase the scoreboard,” he said. “Despite the tough game up at Otterbein, (Saturday) was simply this – play hard and compete. We know we’re gonna take a few hits here and there, but in the end it was how well do we execute. That’s what really matters.
“Tonight, we clawed and scratched, and did whatever we had to do to come out on top. Most of all, we committed no turnovers. That is a key area this team had to improve upon. In the last five years, I counted up there have been 29 turnovers. Giving it away gives the opponent the chance to score and we have been working hard on reducing the number of times we give it away.”
It was a see-saw game throughout with the lead changing hands seven times. The score was tied twice, 7-7 at the end of the first quarter and 30-30 at the end of regulation.
The go-ahead points for Wilmington, and the eventual game winning score, came on a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Luke Creditt to PJ Meyer, and Kevin Shamp’s PAT that gave WC a 37-30 lead.
On the final play of the game, Capital was unable to convert on a fourth and 15 pass play with WC defender Leroy Wilson breaking-up the intended pass and Wilmington players stormed the field in celebration.
Next Saturday, the Quakers play at John Carroll.
Luke Creditt, the Wilmington resident who graduated from Waynesville High School, tossed five touchdown passes and threw for 297 yards. Meyer was one of eight WC players to catch a pass. Matt Creditt, Luke’s brother and a Wilmington High School grad, had three receptions for 22 yards.
Eric Flynn Jr. had 68 yards rushing while Luke Creditt added 54 and Gino Hinton had 42.
Wilson and Tre’Quez Parks paved the defensive effort with five solos each.; CJ Thompson had four solos. Ryan Prince had a sack among his 3.5 tackles for loss. David Henry, another WHS product, was in on seven tackles, including two behind the line.
The Quakers held a 14-13 lead at halftime, and the teams had a defensive struggle in the third quarter before Capital pulled ahead on Blake Middleton’s 25-yard field goal with 29 seconds remaining in the quarter. Capital went into the final period with a 16-14 edge.
Then the offenses for both teams got it going with five successive touchdowns scored between the two teams.
It appeared Wilmington had victory in the cross-hairs on Malik Pettiford’s 32-yard touchdown reception with just under 5:00 remaining in regulation.
Wilmington was successful on a two-point conversion as Creditt hooked up with AJ Hightower, and WC built a 30-23 advantage.
Not to be denied, Capital came back in lightning-like fashion, going 57 yards on five plays in less than two minutes. QB Thomas Wibbeler connected with David Barnett for the score and Middleton booted the PAT to knot the score at 30-apiece.
Each team had a chance to win the game in regulation, but the kickers failed on field goal attempts. For the Quakers, Shamp was unsuccessful from 30 yards out with 2:26 remaining and Middleton could not split the uprights on his 44-yard attempt with 3 seconds remaining, setting the stage for overtime.
Sept 23 2017
Wilmington 37 Capital 30 OT
CAP-Wibbeler 1-yard run (Middleton PAT) 11:14.
WC—Murphy i-yard pass from Creditt (Shamp PAT) 00:41.
CAP-Stanford 5-yard pass from Wibbeler (PAT failed) 12;56.
WC-Hightower 30-yard pass from Creditt (Shamp PAT) 00:36.
CAP-Middleton 25-yard field goal 00:29.
WC-Meyer 12-yard pass from Creditt (Hinton pass from Creditt) 11:33.
CAP-Hargrove 14-yard run (Middleton PAT) 8:50.
WC-Pettiford 32-yard pass from Creditt (Hightower pass from Creditt) 4:52.
CAP-Barnett 17-yard pass from Wibbeler (Middleton PAT) 3:11.
WC-Meyer 30-yard touchdown pass from Creditt (Shamp PAT) 00:00.
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet