After a slow start last week against an improved McClain squad, Wilmington rolled to a 62-19 win to open South Central Ohio League play.
And while WHS head coach Scott Killen was pleased with his squad’s “fight to keep playing and taking Greenfield’s best shot,” he is perhaps more concerned with the slow start. Not necessarily because of the slow start against the Tigers but the slow start in other games and even practice.
“We can’t afford to start slow, have bad practices, or any miscues,” said Killen. “We are too young to waste time. This group needs to be ‘locked in’ from the moment they are on the practice field and right now we are having a difficult time doing that and it’s my job to figure out how to avoid these issues. It’s frustrating.”
Friday night that procedure again will be put to the test against an improving Hillsboro squad at Richards Memorial Field.
Wilmington is 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the SCOL. Hillsboro is 1-3, 0-1.
“The one thing that really stands out for me with Hillsboro is how hard they play,” said Killen. “They play hard every down until the whistle blows. Another thing is they are physical and are going to go right at us. We are going to need to match their physicality and play with speed.”
This makes the Indians a potential matchup problem for the Hurricane. They gave the unbeaten Blue Lions of Washington Senior all they could handle last week before falling 35-33. In order to overcome the hard-charging Indians, Wilmington will need to correct a few things. WHS had 13 penalties for 86 yards.
“We had two or three TDs called back on penalties (against McClain),” said Killen. “We need to clean those up moving forward.”
In the end, Brady Evans passed for 344 yards and two scores with Tony Merritt going for 179 yards receiving and a touchdown. Dylan Beaugard had 122 total yards and a score. Frantz Cherisca rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on just eight attempts. Adam Phelps had 94 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.
In all, Wilmington had 652 yards of total offense, 344 in the air and 308 on the ground.
Brett Bell (9 tackles), Kyler Reed (9 tackles), Porter Pagett (5 tackles), Alex Muslar (5 tackles) and Jake Vaughan (4 tackles) led the Hurricane defense. McClain had 273 total yards but 178 of those came to quarterback Tristan Pitzer.
Killen has been pleased with the improvement of Vaughan, a sophomore defensive back.
“We are starting to get some of the younger guys to step up and make plays for us,” said Killen. “‘Vaughn … is coming off an ankle sprain and he is starting at corner and using him as a returner on special teams. He is an athlete who is starting to get more involved in what we are trying to do as a team.”