WILMINGTON – Falling into a 16-0 hole in the first 16 minutes of the game, Wilmington rallied to within a field goal of Mount Healthy with 73 seconds left, ultimately losing 26-23 Friday night at Alumni Field.
The Cane (0-3) trailed 26-8 after Mount Healthy cashed in a Wilmington fumble for a field goal in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Wilmington scored twice in the final 7:32 of the game, trimming Mount Healthy’s advantage to 26-23.
The Owls (2-1) ran out the final 1:13 of the game after recovering Wilmington’s onside kick.
Mount Healthy (2-1) scored on its first two possessions, one of them after an interception, and tacked on a field goal early in the second quarter, after another interception, to build its initial cushion.
“I’m proud of them. Very easily, we could have tucked tail and not fought. But after we spotted them 16 points, we fought tooth and nail. Now there’s a lot of stuff we need to clean up. We need to clean up the turnovers. We need to clean up some penalties,” WHS head coach Scott Killen said. “For me, the biggest thing was, defensively, the coverage breakdowns we had in the first couple series. Instead of being patient, we jumped stuff and then had a coverage breakdown, and they took advantage of it.”
Wilmington first dented the scoreboard in the waning seconds of the first half with a safety when Mount Healthy was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone. Wilmington had one more play before halftime and after the free kick, a Hail Mary into the end zone just eluded the outstretched hands of the Hurricane receiver.
Getting the ball to start the second half, Wilmington marched down the field 66 yards in six plays to pull within 16-8 of Mount Healthy.
Wilmington’s next drive ended with another interception, which Mount Healthy cashed in for another touchdown and 23-8 advantage.
In addition to the turnovers that led to Mount Healthy scores, the Hurricane let a few other opportunities go by the wayside. One play after Mount Healthy went up 13-0, Wilmington fumbled to the Owls, but the Owls fumbled back to the Hurricane a play later. The subsequent drive ended with a punt.
One play after a Tanner Killen interception in the last minute of the third quarter, Wilmington fumbled back to Mount Healthy. After Wilmington cut Mount Healthy’s lead to 26-15 in the fourth quarter, it recovered its onside kick but turned the ball over on downs on the subsequent drive.
Wilmington will wrap up its non-conference portion of its schedule Friday at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.
September 3, 2021
Mount Healthy 26 Wilmington 23
MH – Seck 32 pass from Montgomery (Aguilar kick), 8:23.
MH – Daniels 5 run (kick failed), 4:12.
MH – Lopez-Sanchez 32 FG, 7:56.
WHS – Safety, :08.
WHS – Snell 2 run (kick failed), 10:15.
MH – Seck 8 run (Aguilar kick), 5:17.
MH – Lopez-Sanchez 24 FG, 11:04.
WHS – Bozarth 24 pass from McEvoy (Henry kick), 7:32.
WHS – Valentine 13 pass from McEvoy (Conversion run), 1:13.
Shawn Robinson covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @twinzdad01.