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Wilmington pulls away from Northwestern, advances to D10 Finals @NWSD_Football @NW_Hounds_FB

Written by: on Saturday, November 6th, 2021

 

Edinboro – The Wilmington Greyhounds are heading back to the District 10 Class AA Title Game.

Wilmington outscored Northwestern 27-7 in the second half for a 41-21 win over the Wildcats Friday night at Edinboro’s Sox Harrison Stadium.

“Anytime you have the opportunity to compete for a championship, it’s exciting,” said Wilmington head coach Brandon Phillian. “The playoffs alone bring a different level of energy and excitement. I thought our boys did that tonight. They took their game to another level. We had a lot of great individual performances, but each of us needs all of us. When you string together enough great individual performances, you get a great team victory.”

Luke Edwards and Gage DeCaprio combined to rush for 325 yards and two touchdowns for the Greyhounds as they pilled up 369 yards on the ground. Edwards rushed for a game-high 215 yards and two scores, while DeCaprio 13 rushes for 110 yards.

“It is gratifying to see the offensive line come together with the way they did tonight,” said Phillian. “This may have been their best performance of the season. Our running backs made them look good a couple of times as well.”

Following a recovered fumble, the “Hounds drove 36 yards and opened the scoring on Ben Miller’s 6-yard run with 4:03 to play in the first quarter.

Northwestern would respond by putting together an 11-play 74-yard drive capped with quarterback Ryan Tewell’s 3-yard run.

“I’m so proud of these kids with the way that they have come out and competed in every game this season,” said Northwestern head coach Mark Brooks. “Tonight, we just came up short against a very talented and well-coached Wilmington team.”

Four plays later, Wilmington retook the lead as Tuff McConahy tossed a 7-yard touchdown to Edwards. DeCaprio’s 51-yard on the drive’s first play set up the score.

The Wildcats again came back scoring on a 33-yard screen pass from Tewell to Jake Kelley on a 4th-and-3. Tewell completed 6-of-7 passes on the drive for 65 yards.

 

“We were executing our game plan well in the first half,” said Brooks. “We told our kids this was like Rocky IV, we were Rocky, and they were the Russian. We were trying to make them bleed and fight hard on the field (no literally), said Brooks with a smile. “They came out and executed well, especially with those few chunk plays.”

Following a “Hounds punt, Northwestern drove to the Wilmington 30-yard line with under a minute to play in the first half. However, Edwards intercepted Tewell at the 19-yard line ending the half.

“Coach Brooks is a guy I have a tremendous amount of respect for,” said Phillian. “He has a great program. Year after year, they’re successful. Northwestern is a gritty team, and you could see that in the first half. We came in knowing the quality of the team we were up against. You saw that in the first half. That interception was huge for our momentum. It gave something positive we could take into the locker room.”

Wilmington took control of the game, starting with their initial possession to start the second half.

The “Hounds drove 62 yards in ten plays and took the lead for good when McConahy scored on a 1-yard sneak to cap the 5-minute drive.

“Often, so many games are won and lost based on the opening drive of the second half,” said Phillian. “That is something that we preach, and sometimes it comes to players even with the adjustments you make at halftime. Our guys came out in the second half and made play after play.”

Edwards then ripped off a 65-yard run, following a Wildcats punt.

Northwestern got themselves back to within a touchdown when Tewell connected with Eric Steinle on a 25-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-7.

Wilmington then went into their bag of tricks when Cole McCallister threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Mikulin to begin the fourth quarter.

 

McCallister wasn’t done as he intercepted Tewell at the “Hounds 6-yard line. Wilmington then went on a 12-play 94-yard drive the ended with Edwards scoring from 21 yards out.

“Their offense just came out and executed in the second half,” said Brooks. “They got the job done and were able to do the things they wanted to do. My hats off to coach Phillian. He calls a great game and has his kids to a T perfect.”

Northwestern concludes a great season at 7-1.

“This senior group I love them,” said Brooks. “I’ve had them for all four years, they are kids I coached in 8th-grade basketball, and now for having on varsity football for four years, I’m going to miss the hell out of them.”

Wilmington advances to the District Title game, where they will meet Farrell. The Steelers rolled past Greenville 60-14 in the other semifinal.

Farrell has been state-ranked all season long and had their way with Wilmington on October 8th, winning 54-0.

“Farrell is a great football team, and we know they’re very talented,” concluded Phillian. “We’re up against an outstanding opponent. Anytime you have an opportunity to compete for a championship, you cherish it. We never take something like this for granted. We know it’s a steep hill to climb, but we will enjoy this tonight and get back to work and put our best foot forward.”

Game Highlights:

 

Wilmington 41 Northwestern 21

Score by Quarters

Wilmington – 7 7 14 13 – 41
Northwestern – 0 14 7 0 – 21

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

W – Ben Miller 6 yd run, (James Winters pat), 4:03

Second Quarter

N – Ryan Tewell 3 yd run, (Ben Campbell pat), 10:36

W – Luke Edwards 7 yd pass from Tuff McConahy, (Winters pat), 8:44

N – Jake Kelley 33 yd pass from Tewell, (Campbell pat), 4:06

Third Quater

W – McConahy 1 yd run, (Winters pat), 6:49

W – Edwards 65 yd run, (Winters pat), 3:04

N – Eric Steinle 25 yd pass from Tewell, (Campbell pat), 0:33

Fourth Quater

W – Tyler Mikulin 20 yd pass from Cole McCallister, (rush failed), 8:56

W – Edwards 21 yd run, (Winters pat), 1:25

Individual Stats

Rushing: Wilmington – Edwards – 21-215, Gage DeCaprio 13-110, McConahy 9-34, Mikulin 3-6, Miller 1-6. Totals: 47-369. Northwestern – Tewell 9-51, Ben Campbell 8-26, Fountain 1-2, Gage Brockett 3-2. Totals: 21-75.

Receiving: Wilmington – Edwards 3-29, Mikulin 1-20. Northwestern – Steinle 8-126, Kelley 3-45, Eric Dorr 3-31, Llyod Fountain 3-20, Jordan Dohanic 1-17, Cam Perkins 1-6.

Passing: Wilmington – McConahy 3-for-4, 29 yards, McCallister 1-for-1, 20 yards, 1 touchdown. Northwestern – Tewell 19-for-32, 245 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions. Team 0-for-2.

Interceptions: Wilmington – Edwards, McCallister.

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