WILMINGTON — Ryan Evans first win as the head coach of the Wilmington High School football team was really a coach’s dream, every piece of the puzzle coming together for a victory.
In a 45-0 win over an outmanned Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy team Friday night at Alumni Field, Evans watched the defense score again and set the tone early.
He witnessed the special teams reach the end zone and make plays when bad things were ready to happen.
And he watched a dazzling performance by his diminutive power plant backup running back that brought the crowd to its feet several times.
And the crowd, too. What a crowd.
“It’s amazing to see all the people show up for an 0-3 football team,” a relieved Evans said after the game. “This was like our Super Bowl. We wanted this for our town, our community.
“I’m excited for the boys. It felt good for the seniors. It felt good for the kids who come to work every day and work hard.”
The Hurricane defense, led by Darrick Perdue and Chase Pickard, pressured the CHCA backfield from the opening snap. The Eagles finished with just 19 yards of offense and 20 of those were through the air. Wilmington held the visitors of -1 yards on 27 attempts.
To note, CHCA gained a yard on its first running play then would not get back to positive yardage on the ground until the third carry in the third quarter.
“Our defense played lights out,” Evans said.
Luke Achtermann (pick 6 in first quarter) and Tyler Kramer (pick 6 in second quarter) scored touchdowns 75 seconds apart for the WHS defense to make it 28-0. Adrien Cody and Michael Brown Jr. had interceptions later in the game for the swarming WHS defense. Zane Smith had an interception wiped out by penalty.
Wilmington got on the board first with a 36-yard punt return by Cody, who reversed field to outrun the Eagles coverage.
Wilmington’s second score came on a jumbo formation rugby scrum, no better way to describe it. With 10 of the 11 players packed tightly, Josh Snell took the snap and plowed forward. He disappeared momentarily then burst into the open for a 10-yard TD run.
The extra point proved that when bad things happen, good results can be obtained. With a botched snap, the scramble was on and the result was a two-point pass from kicker Jonathan Custis to Blaize Johnson.
The Wilmington offense was efficient if nothing else. With bellcow runner Thad Stuckey battling injuries and held to just two carries, Caydn Denniston took his turn at being the primary ball carrier. He didn’t disappoint.
Denniston — all 5-8, 178 pounds of him — went for 209 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Wilmington had 287 yards on the ground behind main blockers Zeth Cowin, Owen Bloom, Braxton Starkey, Garrett Steinmetz and William Hildebrandt.
“Caydn Dennstion ran the ball well. The offensive line stepped up,” said Evans.
Sept. 9, 2022
Wilmington 45, Cin Hills Christian 0
W: Adrien Cody 36 yard punt return (PAT failed) 9:25
W: Josh Snell 10 yard run (Jon Custis pass to Blaize Johnson) 1:59
W: Luke Achtermann 30 yard interception return (Jon Custis PAT) 0:23
W: Tyler Kramer 22 yard interception return (Jon Custis PAT) 11:08
W: Caydn Denniston 15 yard run (Jon Custis PAT) 0:19
W: Caydn Denniston 54 yard run (Jon Custis PAT) 10:35
W: Jon Custis 33 yard field goal, 7:00
PASSING: W-Aiden Price 0-1
RUSHING: W (30-287) Caydn Denniston 19-209-2, Jesse Keith 5-38-0, Adrien Cody 2-30-0, Josh Snell 2-12-1, Thad Stuckey 2-(-2)
INTERCEPTIONS: Adrien Cody, Tyler Kramer, Luck Achtermann, Mike Brown Jr.
DEFENSE (Tackles, Solos, Sacks, TFL) Darrick Perdue 10-4-0-4, Chase Pickard 6-3-0-2, Luck Achtermann 5-4-0-1, Bryson Schutte 3-1-1-1, Zane Smith 3-3-0-1, Josh Snell 4-2-0-0, O’Ryan Keith 4-2-0-0, Jelani Hunter 2-2-0-0, Tyler Kramer 1-1-0-0, Michael Brown 1-0-0-0, Michael Thompson Jr 1-1-0-0, Blaize Johnson 1-1-0-0, William Hildebrandt 1-0-0-0