WILMINGTON – After a week off, the unbeaten Wilmington College football team opens Ohio Athletic Conference play at unbeaten Ohio Northern University 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Dial-Robertson Stadium on the ONU campus.
Wilmington opened its season with a 49-7 win over Earlham on Sept. 1. The Quakers then took the week off while the Polar Bears were winning their second game over OAC rival Muskingum, 42-14.
The week off, which WC has each season following its opener, is a double-edged sword for coach Bryan Moore and his squad.
“It’s good for us because we are probably a little more rested, a little healthier,” said Moore. “But being a young team, with only one half of football really under our belts against an older, more experienced team with two games against better teams … that part is bad.”
In Wilmington’s big season-opening win at Earlham, several county prospects had big games. Clinton-Massie graduate Weston Trampler had three sacks to lead the WC defense. Luke Richardson, another CM product, had a big-play touchdown in the win. Blanchester grad Dylan Fawley was part of an offensive line that helped produce 496 yards.
Wilmington has not defeated Ohio Northern since becoming an NCAA Division III program in 1990. Last season, however, the Polar Bears escaped Williams Stadium on the WC campus with a 49-45 shootout victory.
“Last year was really a tale of two halves,” Moore said. “They thumped us in the first half and probably let their guard down expecting us to let up. So if we can play the first half (Saturday) like we played the second half last year, get into halftime in a competitive game, it puts a lot of pressure on them.”
Anthony McFadden is the ONU quarterback and clear centerpiece to the offense. Early numbers this season have McFadden averaging 178 yards passing and eight yards per rush then he tucks and runs.
“There are a lot designed runs for him,” Moore said. “But he does a lot of things in the pocket when a play breaks down creating his own offense and that’s scary.”
Kyle Barrett, the WC signal-caller, was 13 for 16 passing for 294 yards and a pair of scores in his first collegiate start against Earlham. DJ Chambers rushed for 73 yards and a pair of TDs in the opener.
Despite the week in between games, Moore said not much will change for the Quakers when the head north to Ada Saturday morning.
“We’re not in a position right now to really change our focus week to week,” he said. “Our focus has to remain on us, rather than our opponent. We need to take care of the little things that we aren’t doing well enough. Until we take care of the little things, we can’t look at the big picture.”
And some of those little things can be the difference between winning and losing.
“Some of those lessons we’re going to have to learn by screwing up,” Moore admits. “Sometimes you can’t learn on the practice field. You have to learn from failure (in a game). And we understand, as coaches, that will happen. I don’t think there’s any way around it. They call it growing pains.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports