For the first time in eight years, the Wilmington High School varsity football team will run on to Alumni Field for an official football game.
The Butler Aviators visit Alumni Field for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday night. WHS head coach Scott Killen and the rest of the Wilmington community has been looking forward to this ever since the artificial turf was being put down this summer.
And finally that time is here.
But lest you believe Butler is a cupcake pushover ready-made for a runaway re-dedication of Alumni Field, think again.
The Hurricane defense would seem to have its hands full against the Aviators. Butler is 2-0 and is averaging 54 points a game with wins over Springfield Shawnee (56-28) and Tecumseh (52-0).
Last year, Wilmington won a shootout with Butler 32-28.
“Vandalia is a very good football team that has a lot of experience and depth coming back,” said Killen. “Offensively, they are able to run and throw very effectively. Defensively, they are an aggressive 3-4 team.”
TraLee Joiner, the WHS middle linebacker, will lead the Hurricane defensive effort against the BHS offense.
“TraLee Joiner is a hard-nosed kid who just loves to play football,” Killen said. “He has done a nice job stepping in and taking ownership of the middle linebacker position with Austin Thompson being out.”
Killen said his squad continues to handle adversity with aplomb this season, especially last week’s Friday-Saturday weather-delayed win.
“I was pleased to come out of Bellbrook with a win against a quality opponent under crazy circumstances,” the WHS coach said. “You never know how your kids are going to react after a weather delay and then getting home late and coming back early in the morning. We handled that pretty well jumping out to a 21-0 lead. We had to fight through the heat and key injuries but that is football and every team has to face these type of situations.”
Killen didn’t elaborate on the injuries but said simply, “It’s football and injuries happen, so next man up. We are going to be asking some of the younger players to step up and fill in. It’s my job to make sure those players are ready to go.”
Killen continues to praise the offensive line, which has allowed Wilmington to be a well-balanced offense.
“The offensive line has really stepped up and it has allowed us to scheme a little more and really spread the ball around,” said Killen.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.