For one game, Wilmington College football knows how the others teams in the Ohio Athletic Conference feel.
Wilmington will travel to Richmond, Ind. Saturday to open the 2018 season against Earlham in the first Quaker Bowl rivalry game between the two schools.
When head coach Bryan Moore looks across the field at his maroon and white counterparts, he’ll see what the OAC sees looking at Wilmington.
“When we meet as a team on Sunday to break down the week, we’re honest with the players,” said Moore. “This isn’t the caliber of team we’re going to see the next nine weeks. This is probably the lightest team on our schedule. Our roster is probably double their roster.”
Easy win, right?
Moore is truly wary of the Quakers from the west.
“They are still more experienced,” he said. “They have more game experience, seven starters returning on both sides of the ball. It’s on the road. We have a lot of freshmen who are getting their first taste of college football. Week 1 is always scary.”
Wilmington rushed for 381 yards in a 49-20 win over Earlham last season at Townsend Field. Earlham hasn’t won a game since 2013, a string of 43 straight losses.
In 2017, Wilmington finished 2-8 and ended a 40-game Ohio Athletic Conference losing streak with a Week 3 win over Capital.
Earlham head coach Nick Johnson is in his fourth year at the helm. Johnson played his collegiate football at Wilmington from 1997-2000 and later served as the program’s defensive coordinator from 2007-12.
Game set to kickoff at 2 p.m. Saturday at Earlham’s Darrell Beane Stadium.
Wilmington is 11-8-2 against Earlham in the last 21 meetings. The all-time series record is in Earlham’s favor 25-15-2.
Despite having so many starters returning, Earlham must replace Wesley Hundley, a do-it-all quarterback who accounted for more than 85 percent of the team’s offense.
“Their quarterback this year is a young guy but he’s going to account for the majority of their offense,” Moore said. “We didn’t do a very good job of accounting for (Hundley).”
Moore said Clinton-Massie graduate Luke Richardson has “really distanced himself” on the offensive side of the ball for the Quakers.
“He’s secured that (starting) spot over the course of the week,” Moore said. “He’s come in from Day 1 … what we were most nervous about Luke is that coming from Massie they don’t run a lot of (pass) routes. But he’s been coachable and showed a willingness to learn.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports