BATAVIA — After a slow start, Wilmington got its offense going and ran away from Batavia 42-3 Friday night in the SBAAC American Division opener at Holman Stadium.
The Hurricane defense was stout throughout, holding the Bulldogs to 55 yards of total offense.
Wilmington got interceptions from Tanner Killen, Mike Brown and Josh Snell in the win.
The Bulldogs, who were beaten 82-0 last week by Bethel-Tate, took the lead 1:41 in to the game. After executing an onside kick, the Bulldogs went 33 yards on the opening drive and got a 28 yard field goal from Nick Burke.
“We knew they’d play hard and bring pressure,” said WHS head coach Scott Killen.
Wilmington punted on its first two drives, one of which was a 52-yarder by Parker Henry.
Defensively, Bryson Schutte, Killen and Brett Brooks had big plays for WHS in the opening period. After getting 39 on that first drive, the Batavia offense was pretty much non-existent.
“We went with a different defense and let our athletes just be athletes,” Killen said. “We told them to stop thinking and just run around. Just play.”
But the Hurricane offense was equally inept until late in the opening period. A 34 yard pass play from Cameron McEvoy to Isaiah Rigling got things rolling. As the second quarter started, McEvoy hit Killen with a bullet in the end zone to give WHS the lead. After Henry’s PAT it was 7-3 with 11:56 to go until halftime.
Here’s where things went south fast for the Bulldogs. Henry’s kickoff hit like a pro’s 9-iron at the 2 and was picked up a the 3. The ball carrier was tackled at the 5. Then on fourth down from their own 3, the Bulldogs elected to go for it and WHS came up with the stop.
A 2-play, 3-yard drive ended when McEvoy scored from the 1 and the blowout was on, 14-3. After another defensive stop, McEvoy dropped a rainbow to Rigling for 32 yards and at 8:14 of the second it was 21-3. The picks by Killen and Brown came on back to back drives late in the second period.
Despite the lead at the half, Killen lamented an offense that had big plays but overall struggled.
“In the first half, we had 32 plays that gained zero or negative yards,” he said.
WHS put together a neat 13-play 82-yard scoring drive on its first possession of the third. McEvoy went the final yard for the score. Thane McCoy sparked the ground game (18 rushes, 12 yards in the first half) by gaining 28 yards on his first four carries. On fourth down, while attempting a long field goal, the snap was bobbled, secured by Rigling who threw a desperation pass to Snell for the first down at the 5 to keep the drive alive.
Brown and Elijah Collins teamed for a big play on defense early in the third and Schutte later had another key stop.
The ground game continued on the next drive as Stuckey had runs of 14, 14, 19 and 9. Snell went the final 2 at 8:17 to make it 42-3.
“We wore them down,” said Killen. “Our kids are in great shape physically. It’s the mental side we have to get better at.”
The offensive numbers grew big-time when Cadyn Denniston went 63 yards around left end on the next series to cap the scoring and give WHS its first league win.
September 24, 2021
Score By Quarters
B: Nick Burke 28 yard field goal, 10:19
W-Tanner Killen 7 yard pass from Cameron McEvoy, Parker Henry PAT, 11:56
W-Cameron McEvoy 1 yard run, Parker Henry PAT, 9:51
W-Isaiah Rigling 32 yard pass from Cameron McEvoy, Parker Henry PAT, 8:14
W-Cameron McEvoy 1 yard run, Parker Henry PAT, 2:49
W-Thad Stuckey 9 yard run, Parker Henry PAT, 10:34
W-Josh Snell 2 yard run, Parker Henry PAT, 8:20
W-Caydn Denniston 67 yard run, Parker Henry PAT, 2:40
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports