Defense, Price right as Hurricane storms Knights 28-7 in season opener


WILMINGTON — Aiden Price passed for two touchdowns and ran for another as Wilmington opened its 2023 football season Friday night with 28-7 win over visiting Northwest.

Price completed his first seven passes before finishing 8 for 13 for 130 yards and the two scores. He opened the scoring with a four-yard strike to Mikey Brown then put WHS up 13-0 in the second with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Zane Smith.

“Our quarterback has something to prove, so he’ll pretty much be doing this all year,” WHS head coach Ryan Evans said. “Aiden Price should be very happy with his performance. He’s done an amazing job this offseason. I think he has a lot to prove to everyone. He takes that to heart. He has that underdog mentality. That’s what we love about him.”

The Wilmington defense was strong through most of the game. Led by its hard-charging defense line of Malachi Cumberland, Jelani Hunter, Donavon Perdue and Michael Streety, the Hurricane held the Knights’ offense in check through three quarters.

“Our defense played light out,” Evans said. “I was very, very impressed with them. They’re good kids, young in spots. Those two scrimmages paved the way for tonight. Donavon Perdue got a game ball from us. He played like his brother (Darrick). We really stress making sure we are playing the edges and have the box secured and I think our guys did that.”

The defensive effort was more impressive as it came with Luke Achtermann in street clothes on the sidelines. He was one of the leading tacklers for WHS last season.

Evans commended the play of Jessie Keith at middle linebacker.

The Knights ran 43 plays from scrimmage, not including punts, and 23 went for zero or negative yardage. The ‘Cane also recovered two Northwest fumbles. NW finished with 137 yards of total offense but 52 came on the scoring drive the end with 2:58 to play in the final period.

Caydn Denniston, who shared the backfield last season with Thad Stuckey, was the bell-cow back for the Hurricane, carrying the ball 27 times for 139 yards.

WHS opened the game with a swarming defensive effort, highlighted by a Cumberland sack. Wilmington embarked on a 9-play, 48-yard drive that started and ended with a Price pass to Michael Brown Jr. The first for 19 yards and the last a four-yard scoring strike.

“I thought we played well, came out on fire early,” Evans said. “I didn’t like how we finished with all the mental kind of breakdowns on special teams. We have to do a little better job up front. We have the guys to do it. We have to finish blocks. We just have to be better up there. Coach (Joe) Gigandet will get them right. It’s a matter of finishing. We’ll be fine.”


Aug 18, 2023

@Alumni Field

Wilmington 28, Northwest 8




First Quarter

W-Mikey Brown 4 yard pass from Aiden Price (PAT Failed) 5:50

Second Quarter

W-Zane Smith 26 yard pass from Aiden Price (Jon Custis PAT) 6:13

Third Quarter

W-O’Ryan Keith fumble recovery in end zone (Price to Z. Smith) 8:47

W-Aiden Price 1 yard run (Jon Custis PAT) 4:57

Fourth Quarter

NW-Kinxton Hill 8 yard run (EJ Walker PAT) 2:58


Rushing: WIL (43-181) Caydn Denniston 27-139 Aiden Price 7-29 Josiah Puller 6-14 Jake Stephens 1-(-7) Luke Johnson 1-0 Jon Custis 1-6; NW (31-112) Jaylen Lilly 17-37 Kinxton Hill 7-55

Passing: WIL (9-14-0, 137 yards) Aiden Price 8-13-0, 130 yards 2 TD Jake Stephens 1-1-0, 7 yards; NW (5-12-0, 25 yards)

Receiving: WIL (9-137-2) Michael Brown Jr 6-80 Zane Smith 3-50 Stephen Rickman 1-7

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