LEES CREEK — Wilmington jumped out to a 21-3 lead against East Clinton Friday night and never looked back as the Hurricane posted a 42-10 victory, spoiling the Astros 2016 homecoming.
The South Central Ohio League win puts Wilmington at 5-1 overall and 3-0 in league play, tied for first place with Chillicothe and Clinton-Massie.
East Clinton drops to 0-6 overall and 0-3 in the SCOL.
Mindy Bean was crowned EC Homecoming Queen and Ashton Noble was crowned Homecoming King.
The Hurricane wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as quarterback Brady Evans hooked up with Adam Phelps for a 75-yard scoring reception on the first play from scrimmage. Brady Henry booted the PAT attempt through the uprights giving the Hurricane the early 7-0 lead.
The rain-soaked field made it difficult for both teams to get good footing as the game progressed. A bad snap from center to WHS punter Rory Bell gave the Astros a big break as they took over at the WHS 11. The Astros’ drive stalled out and East Clinton got on the board with a 21-yard field goal from Austin Arellano.
Wilmington extended its lead to 14-3 on a 10-yard run by Tony Merritt at the 2:53 mark. Henry’s PAT kick made it a 14-3 WHS lead at the end of the opening quarter.
Wilmington got its third touchdown of the night on a 16-yard pass from Evans to Phelps, who eluded three Astro defenders to reach the end zone. The score came with 9:09 remaining until halftime and Henry’s kick made it a 21-3 game.
East Clinton executed a 10-play, 72-yard drive consuming six minutes to get its first touchdown of the night. Quarterback Brendan Jenkins capped off the drive with a one-yard run at the 3:54 mark. Arellano’s PAT kick made it a 21-10 deficit for the Astros.
Wilmington’s special teams play helped set up the final score of the half, as Hurricane punter Rory Bell pinned the Astros at the 5. Unable to get a first down, the Astros were forced to punt it away. Merritt, on the receiving end of the EC punt, evaded several Astro defenders and returned the ball from midfield to the EC 7. Phelps scored his third TD of the contest on a five yard run with 19.7 seconds remaining. Henry’s PAT kick sent the Hurricane into the locker room with a 28-10 lead.
Wilmington added a pair of third quarter touchdowns, including the fourth of the night by Phelps, a five yard rush, with 7:28 showing. Evans hooked up with Matt Smith, all alone in the left corner of the end zone on a 28-yard pass play, at the 3:13 mark. Henry tacked on the pair of PAT kicks, giving the Hurricane a commanding 42-10 lead after three quarters.
The remainder of the contest was played with a running clock, due to the 30-point differential. Neither team scored in the final quarter of action.
Individually, Anthony Osburn was a workhorse for the Astros, rushing for 140 yards on 25 carries.
For the Hurricane Phelps had an outstanding effort. He scored four touchdowns, including three on the ground. Phelps collected 41 yards rushing on 10 carries. With his 91 yards on a pair of receptions, including the 75 yarder on the opening play, Phelps combined for 132 all-purpose yards, to pace the WHS offensive attack.
Wilmington will return to Alumni Field next Friday, hosting Washington High School for its 2016 Homecoming. The Blue Lions were held scoreless by Clinton-Massie, as the Falcons posted a 70-0 victory last night.
East Clinton will travel to Miami Trace next Friday night.
September 30, 2016
@East Clinton High School
Wilmington 42 East Clinton 10
Bill Liermann covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.