WILMINGTON — Despite getting off to a good start, the Wilmington College football team could not sustain the momentum Saturday in a 35-26 loss to Marietta in Ohio Athletic Conference action at Townsend Field.
With the defeat, the Quakers fall to 1-5 overall (1-4 in the OAC). Marietta improves to 4-2 overall and is now 3-2 in the Conference.
For the WC coaching staff, it had to be a huge disappointment because the Quakers generated more than 400 yards in offense. However, three turnovers, including a strip-sack of the quarterback which the Pioneers converted into a pair of touchdowns proved to be the difference.
Wilmington took the opening kickoff and drove 65 yards in 11 plays with quarterback Kyle Barrett scoring from one-yard. Tyler Butcher’s PAT made it an early 7-0 WC lead.
In their next drive, Barrett hooked up with Itika Wynn on a 65-yard touchdown pass with just over 4:00 remaining, The PAT failed, the result of a low snap, and the Quakers held a 13-0 advantage at the first quarter break.
Marietta put three touchdowns on the board in the second quarter to go in front. Pioneers quarterback Kyle McSweeney hooked up with Andrew Barker on a 17-yard TD pass. Tanner Clark, who led the Pioneers rushing attack with 132 yards on 42 carries, got the game-tying score with 4:28 to go until halftime. Marietta kicker Jacob Griffin converted his PAT, giving the Pioneers a 14-13 lead.
On the next series, the Pioneers capitalized on a WC miscue when quarterback Barrett lost the ball and linebacker Drake Neuberger snared the loose ball and took it 17 yards for a touchdown. Griffin’s PAT extended the lead to eight points, 21-13.
However, the Quakers fought back with an 11-play, 83-yard drive ending in a 25-yard scoring play. Barrett connected with Luke Richardson on a 25-yard TD pass and Butcher’s PAT boot made it a 21-20 contest at halftime.
The teams battled for field position during the third quarter, before the Pioneers were able to extend their lead on the opening play of the final quarter. McSweeney connected with Justin Bell on 3-yard touchdown pass, and Griffin’s kick again made it an eight-point spread, 28-20.
Not to be deterred, Wilmington responded with a 7-play, 75-yard drive ending with a one-yard run by Gino Hinton. The Quakers two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful in an attempt to tie the score at 28-all.
Marietta added a final touchdown, although it was somewhat controversial in the opinion of the WC coaching staff. McSweeney found receiver Ryan VanMeter in the corner of the end zone for a 19-yard TD with 9:33 remaining. At first, officials ruled he was not in bounds, but after the officials huddled and discussed the play, the decision was over-ruled and the touchdown stood. Kicker Griffin’s PAT made it a nine-point spread, at 35-26.
Wilmington made a final attempt at a potential score, but a touchdown pass to Wynn was intercepted by defensive back Tay Pryor with 4:00 to play, thwarting the comeback by WC.
Marietta has won the last six meetings between the two schools. Wilmington’s last victory in the series came in 2012, 13-12.
The Quakers will be on the road the next two games, going to Baldwin-Wallace Saturday, then to John Carroll Nov. 2. Wilmington’s final home game of the season will be Nov. 9 when they will host the Capital Crusaders at Williams Stadium.
Oct 19, 2019
Marietta 35 Wilmington 26
Bill Liermann covers college and high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.