WILMINGTON — Fourteen plays in to Friday night’s football game between Wilmington and New Richmond, the Hurricane were limping along against yet another SBAAC powerhouse.
But then things turned around.
The defense came up with a stop and the offense reached the end zone in short order.
The turnaround sparked a 34-13 Wilmington victory in front of a raucous Alumni Field crowd.
“We started slow, but once we figure them out, our kids rallied,” WHS head coach Ryan Evans said on the turf following the game.
Coming in to the game, New Richmond had dominated Wilmington since the two became SBAAC rivals in 2017, winning all five meetings, including 32-22 last season.
“We respected them,” said Evans. “Anyone that comes in 6-1, you have to respect them.”
And WHS had been in this position before. Start fast in league play, then fade away.
Wilmington was 2-0 in the league last season then lost three straight. In the Covid-plagued 2020 season, WHS won its first American Division game then lost three straight.
In all, the Hurricane had lost the last 10 games to the heavyweight trio of New Richmond, Western Brown and Clinton-Massie. The last win in that run was 38-37 at Western Brown in 2018.
Friday night’s convincing win sets up an American Division showdown in Week 9 at Western Brown. WHS (5-3 on the year) will be in enemy territory for sure next Friday — it’s Homecoming and Senior Night for the high-flying state-ranked Broncos.
“Our kids understand what’s ahead,” Evans said of the game against the No. 5 Division III team in Ohio.
The last time Wilmington won at least five games in a season was 2017.
The win over the Lions was a clear case of domination in the trenches. The Wilmington offensive and defensive lines were simply too much for New Richmond.
“They brought it tonight,” Evans said.
Led by Thad Stuckey, Wilmington ran for 380 yards. Stuckey had 217 yards on 29 hard-charging attempts. He now has 1,116 yards for the season.
New Richmond was held to 188 yards as quarterback AJ Metzger was harrassed all night by the Hurricane front.
Down 73-2 in yardage but only 6-0 on the scoreboard, Wilmigton took the lead for good on a 7-play, 64-yard all-rushing drive, aided by a 15-yard New Richmond penalty. Stuckey, Denniston and Josh Snell took turns running the ball with Stuckey capping the drive on a 4-yard plunge.
Luke Achtermann had a big sack of AJ Metzger on the next drive and, after a punt, Wilmington went to work again behind the blocking of Zeth Cowin, Christopher Stewart, Garrett Steinmetz, William Hildebrandt, Braxton Starkey and tight end Blaize Johnson. Aiden Price went the final 16 yards on a nifty scramble. With Jonathan Custis’ second point after touchdown, it was 14-6 Hurricane.
Chase Pickard, who had a seas0n-high 19 tackles to lead the stingy WHS defense, had the big hit on the next drive and Custis followed with a 34-yard field goal to make it 17-6. That drive was a 13-play, 56-yard possession as the Hurricane run game was in high gear.
Wilmington scored 10 points in 1:42, a Stuckey four-yard run, a Custis extra point kick, and a Custis 40-yard field goal, to make it 24-6 Wilmington.
The Lions made it 24-13 and were poised to pressure the home team. But on a third and 21 play, Price found Stevie Rickman for 32 yards for a first down. Denniston made that play pay off when he scored from seven yards out with 4:07 to go. Michael Brown ended all Lions’ hope with an interception on the next drive.
Oct 7, 2022
Wilmington 34, New Richmond 13
NR: Matthew Duty 1 yard run (PAT Failed) 9:04
W: Thad Stuckey 4 yard run (Jonathan Custis PAT) 1:54
W: Aiden Price 16 yard run (Jonathan Custis PAT) 9:12
W: Jonathan Custis 34 yard field goals, 0:03
W: Thad Stuckey 4 yard run (Jonathan Custis PAT) 0:55
W: Jonathan Custis 40 yard field goal, 11:13
NR: Tanner Skaggs 57 yard pass from AJ Metzger (Trane Light PAT) 9:52
W: Cadyn Dennisto 7 yard run (Jonathan Custis PAT) 4:07
PASSING: WIL-Aiden Price 3-5-0, 35 yards; NR-AJ Metzger 15-29-1, 150 yards 1 TD
RUSHING: WIL (63-380-4) Thad Stuckey 29-217-2, Cadyn Denniston 12-58-1, Aiden Price 16-104-1; NR (20-35) Matthew Duty 9-4; Metzger 9-29; Tanner Skaggs 1-2
RECEIVING: WIL: Stevie Rickman 1-32, Blaize Johnson 2-3; NR: Matthew Duty 2-11, Cohen Maning 2-18, Cooper Tidball 4-30, Trey Sininger 1-4, Jack Moore 1-10, Andrew Hawkins 1-5, Tanner Skaggs 4-73
PENALTIES: WIL: 11-122; NR: 3-25
INTERCEPTIONS: WIL: Michael Brown
TACKLES: Chase Pickard 19 (2 for loss), Josh Snell 12 (1 sack), Luck Achtermann 8 (3 for loss), Darrick Perdue 7 (2 sacks), Micahel Brown 7, Jonathan Custis 7, Bryson Schutte 5, O’Ryan Keith 6, Eli Stewart 6, Zane Smith 6, Malachi Cumberland 3, Jelani Hunter 3, Caydn Denniston 1