After a long period of mounting losses, the Wilmington College football program is, through five games anyway, on the rise.
The Fightin’ Quakers hope to keep that going Saturday when Marietta College visits for the annual Homecoming game. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Williams Stadium. Both teams are 2-3 overall and 1-3 in the OAC.
Wilmington is unbeaten at home this season, having won both games played on campus. With many alumni on hand for Homecoming, head coach Bryan Moore hopes his squad continues to put its best Townsend Field foot forward.
“That is probably the thing I am most excited about, putting our program in front of a lot of alumni who will be watching us play for the first time,” said Moore. “I am very proud of the product these kids have produced so far this season. They have worked their butts off to get this opportunity. I want them to play well and show the alumni that they have something to be proud of again. I believe our program is on the way up and this is a great opportunity to prove that to those outside our immediate locker room.”
The Quakers are coming off a 38-21 loss on the road at Baldwin-Wallace. WC led 14-9 midway through the third quarter but surrendered 22 straight points to the Yellow Jackets.
“That has kind of been the summary of our season so far,” said Moore. “We have not been able to get all three phases of the game playing well for four quarters. The defense played their best half of football in the first half and offensively we didn’t do enough to put more points on the board to help them out. Then when our offense regained the lead in the third quarter, our special teams and defense had some lapses.”
Marietta quarterback Darrien Fields and running back Roger Walker will present problems for the WC defense.
“(Fields) has completed over 70 percent of his passes and since they have already played Mount Union and John Carroll, that definitely has our attention,” Moore said. “(Walker) has very good feet and instincts but more importantly he is very hard to tackle. Their offensive line is probably the second best group we have seen so far this year and their receivers benefit from the high percentage passes.”
The Pioneers on defense have surrendered 230 yards per game on the ground, but Moore admits those numbers go up dramatically because of Mount Union and John Carroll.
“This game will be a great evaluation of how far this (Wilmington) program has come in a year,” Moore said. “Marietta is a team that put up 60 points in the first half against Wilmington last year, so obviously they have some weapons on offense.
“I feel our kids have played well in their two home games this year and they should be able to keep that trend rolling on Saturday. But they are in kind of uncharted waters right now. We are in week 6 and we are undefeated at home, they have not experienced that before.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports