With the exception of the Covid-19 season of 2020 when every high school football team in Ohio was eligible for the playoffs, Wilmington hasn’t advanced to the post-season since 2009.
The Hurricane is the 13 seed and will travel to 4 see Wapakoneta for a 7 p.m. Friday kickoff. Wapakoneta is just south of Lima.
“They are good in all three phases,” WHS head coach Ryan Evans said. “Big and disciplined.”
In 2020, Wilmington defeated Marietta 56-14 then had its second-round game with St. Francis DeSales cancelled because of Covid.
The 2009 season was the one in which Wilmington hosted Turpin in Week 10, losing 26-14, then went to Turpin in Week 11 for the playoffs and lost 44-21.
Wapakoneta won the Western Buckeye League and finished 9-1 overall. Like Wilmington, Wapak won its playoff opener in 2020 then had the second round game called off. The Redskins last missed the post-season in 2017.
The Hurricane comes in to the game having won five of its last six games, the only loss a 28-7 defeat to Clinton-Massie last week. Evans believes there are some who point to the Massie game as the true playoff game, not this week’s official post-season encounter.
”Well for some reason no one cares about this game as much as the Clinton-Massie game,” he said. “You would think that’s the playoff game. Haven’t been to the playoffs since 2009. It should be a big deal.”
Evans said his team must “come ready to play and be prepared better than last week,” in order to continue the season.
Like Wilmington, Wapak prefers to keep things on the ground offensively with Jace Knous leading the way with more than 1,200 yards and 18 touchdowns. Caleb Moyer is a capable passer.
Wilmington features the two-headed rushing attack of Thad Stuckey and Caydn Denniston, who became what is believed to be the first pair of 1,000-yard rushers on the same team for WHS. Stuckey ran for 1,479 while Denniston went for 1,016. Both average more than 7 yards per rush behind a stellar offensive line. The two combined for 22 rushing touchdowns, with Stuckey leading with 13.
Jonathan Custis has been a strong kicker for Wilmington, in all three phases including kickoffs, punting and scoring.
Josh Snell, Chase Pickard, Luke Achtermann, Darrick Perdue, Michael Brown, Bryson Schutte, Malachi Cumberland have led a resurgent WHS defensive effort in 2022.