The Wilmington College football team forced three turnovers, but couldn’t capitalize, and lost its third straight game to Marietta Saturday, 34-14, at Townsend Field.
“I am not very happy at all. It shows to our lack of focus,” said Wilmington head coach Stacey Hairston. “It’s the same individuals we talk about that need to step up offensively. That is a very disappointing effort that we had. We have to be better across the board and, us as coaches, we have to be better as coaches and put our guys in better situations.”
Miscues by both teams led to first quarter scores.
A bad punt snap on Wilmington’s first possession set the Pioneers up with a two-play, four-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead. A botched offensive Marietta snap was scooped up by senior Nick Williams (Cleveland, OH/Fairview), who rumbled 15 yards for the score that tied the game.
Marietta tallied 13 unanswered points before the Fightin’ Quakers scored its lone offensive touchdown of the game. Trailing 20-7, Wilmington secured its second takeaway as junior David Henry (Wilmington, OH/Wilmington) forced a fumble on his sack of the MC quarterback. Sophomore Teqon Scott (Richmond, VA/Varina) pounced on the loose ball on the 44.
Three plays later, junior Austin Jarbo (Gratis, OH/Preble Shawnee) connected with Justin Lee (Middletown, OH/Madison) for a 26-yard touchdown with 1:57 remaining in the half. Jarbo finished the game throwing for 93 yards on 10-of-24 passing, one touchdown and two interceptions.
However, the Pioneers restored its double-digit lead, scoring with six seconds left in the second quarter.
Both defenses stiffened in the second half as neither offense found paydirt.
“We talked about at halftime, if we had any chance of winning, the defense couldn’t let them score,” said Hairston. “We played well in the second half and kept them off the board in the second half. But at the end of the day, we gave up 34 points and that is not good enough.”
Henry led the defense with 13 tackles, two for loss, two forced fumbles, one sack, a quarterback hurry and a blocked extra point.
“He is the type of player that is getting better each and every week, and eventually, everybody is going to have to know where he is,” said Hairston. “The good thing is we have other bodies around him and if you focus on him, hopefully someone else will make the plays. It’s good to see him coming into his own.”
Senior Tarrell Starckey (Richmond, VA/Highland Springs) finished with 10 tackles. Senior Amari Bryant (West Chester, OH/Lakota West) had an interception to go along with five tackles.
Junior Chase Manica (Shelbyville, KY/Shelby County) gained 93 yards on 31 carries to lead the Wilmington rushing attack.
Sophomore Aroyal Wright (Cincinnati, OH/Newport (KY)) hauled in a team-high six receptions for 42 yards.
Wilmington (1-3 overall, 0-3 OAC) travels to John Carroll 1:30 p.m. Saturday.