WESTERVILLE — Could they do it again?
After last week’s late-game 99-yard drive to beat Capital, Wilmington was faced with 97 yards and 3:00 to go against Otterbein in a 10-10 game Friday night.
And yes, they did it again.
Kyle Barrett passed 21 yards to Lathan Jones for a touchdown with 36 seconds left and Wilmington rallied to defeat Otterbein 17-10 on a brisk night at OU’s Memorial Stadium.
“Nothing comes easy on TUFF street, and we wouldn’t want it any other way,” WC head coach Bryan Moore said, referring to the mantra the team uses to describe itself. “We showed a lot of resiliency and grit to have to march 90-plus yards two weeks in a row after not playing for over a year. I never would have thought it possible, but our kids sure believed.”
The WC offense went the 97 yards in eight plays in 2:24 as the Quakers improved to 2-0 on the season.
“Coach (Hayden) Thomas has been calling plays for two whole games and put together yet another historical drive,” said Moore. “He and his staff have a lot of be proud of.”
The offense was inconsistent most of the night. Barrett was just 22 for 37 passing and had two interceptions. The run game was saved by Yvan Tientcheu’s 45-yard burst on the winning drive but had just 79 yards on 36 attempts otherwise.
Jones caught two touchdown passes. Itika Wynn Jr. had five receptions for 63 yards.
On defense, Tavion Bryant had an interception and 6.5 tackles, with 3.5 behind the line of scrimmage. Tre’Quez Parks and Jarod Lee had 4.5 tackles each with Lee also collecting an interception. Brandon Weaver had a sack and two tackles for loss.
Wilmington held a 348-262 edge in yards gained from scrimmage as well as a 124-71 difference in yards on the ground.
“Coach (Corey) Fillipovich and the defense made big play after big play and were studs tonight,” Moore said. “Their ‘5 strong’ mentality was critical.”
The Quakers defense was up to its old tricks in the beginning, holding the Cardinals to a three and out on their opening drive. The WC offense responded with a 10-play drive but it stalled near midfield. Otterbein came back with a 15-play drive that came up empty as the WC defense held inside the 10.
The offense had a punt blocked by Mitch Moyer and Andrew Brazell recovered at the WC 9. Three plays later Logan Pharmer rushed for a 5-yard touchdown and with Caleb Meade’s extra point Otterbein led 7-0.
WC was unable to take advantage of a 15-yard OU punt late in the first half, when a Barrett pass was intercepted at the Otterbein 6 with 38 seconds to play in the half.
The very next pass by Barrett, which came in the third quarter, also was intercepted. The defense held fort again and gave the offense another shot.
It paid off.
With a focus on the run early, the WC coaches rolled the dice on a fourth down and three play from the Otterbein 12. Barrett made good on a throw to Jones for the touchdown. Connor Bucksath added the PAT to tie the game.
The Quakers again tried a fourth down play on the next possession but the Cardinals were up to the task, holding Tientcheu for no gain.
Bryant came up with the first takeaway for Wilmington, intercepting an Otterbein pass on the next possession. WC, however, was unable to take advantage of the short field.
Otterbein put three points on the board on the next series with a 25-yard field goal by Declan Farrell. The highlight of the drive was a 62-yard pass from Pharmer to Jack Iannarino to the WC 6.
WC countered with a field goal of its own, a 23-yarder by Bucksath at 9:55 to tie the game, 10-10.
The defense was definitely tested on the next drive, surrendering back-to-back first downs through the air on back-to-back snaps. But Lee thwarted the drive with an interception.