Sep. 19—GREENVILLE — Having its 3-year regular-season win streak snapped last week was not pleasant for Wilmington High's football program. So the Greyhounds simply started a new skein with Saturday night's 42-15 Region 1 win over Greenville.
"We just had that sour taste in our mouth, wanted to come back and win this week, and that's exactly what we did," summarized Gage DeCaprio.
At Stewart Field/Snyder-Stone Stadium, DeCaprio complemented senior standout Luke Edwards in the Greyhounds' ground game. DeCaprio capped a 15-carry, 124-yard rushing performance with his initial touchdown of the season — a 44-yard scoring sprint for the game's 1st strike. He later added 11- and 2-yard TD runs.
Edwards ended with an 18-carry, 121-yard performance that included a 4-yard TD run set up by Rocky Serafino's interception.
Additionally, Edwards energized Wilmington and seized the momentum from Greenville after the Trojans tallied a TD on Jalen Ritzert's 76-yard scoring strike to Jase Herrick. That gave Greenville some giddy-yap as it drew within 13-7 with 5:12 remaining to intermission.
However Edwards, on the ensuing kickoff, sprinted 87 yards, helping hoist the 'Hounds to a 21-7 halftime lead following Ben Miller's 2-point PAT run.
"Greenville goes for a deep pass, a 'splash play,' and our guys, to their credit, it's 'Focus on your vision, not your circumstances," related 'Hounds Head Coach Brandon Phillian. "The circumstance was we had just given up a 'splash play,' but I was so proud of the resiliency that our club showed. ... We had a lot of great blocking, and Luke Edwards is a special player. He has great vision, made some great cuts and turned on the jets.
"To answer their 'splash play' with a 'splash play' of our own ... In my opinion, there were two turning points to this football game," Phillian reflected. "The kickoff return for the touchdown by Luke, and the defensive stand from inside our ten-yard line at the end of the first half."
In the 4th frame Edwards equalled DeCaprio's output as he scored his 3rd TD, taking in Tuff McConahy's 23-yard scoring strike.
"He's like a brother to me," DeCaprio said of Edwards. "We've been close ever since Midgets in fourth-, fifth-grade. Great leader, great player, and he's very humble."
"Obviously, Luke Edwards is a special player and a senior captain, and really one of the focal points of the offense," Phillian said. "But in this offense, it takes multiple guys, and I thought Gage DeCaprio really stepped up. I thought he did a great job, showed good vision and a good burst. That's something that excites us (coaches), and I think will really benefit us as we move forward."
Wilmington (2-0 region, 2-1 overall) went for 389 total yards (287 rushing) as McConahy connected on 7 of 9 pass attempts for 105 yards.
It seems as though as the players change, the uniform and scheme remain constant. Wilmington has won 5 consecutive District 10 Class 2A titles and advanced to the PIAA championship game 3 of the last 4 years.
"Personally I feel it's the same. We have good coaches, we have good linemen — it's all about the linemen. It's good to run behind some big dudes. ...
"It feels natural. We have a good rotation with all the running backs," DeCaprio added.
Losing last week to Liberty-Benton (35-14) may have been a blessing, based on what Wilmington did against Greenville.
"We were very fortunate to have a good regular-season win streak goin'. But (playing against) Liberty-Benton, I think that was a good move for our football team, playin' a team of that caliber, "observed Phillian. "We start back at (win number) one and we'll take it one game at a time."
Greenville (1-3, 1-3) suffered a 2nd straight setback.
The Trojans' other tally was Ritzert rifling a 33-yard TD toss to Brady Kincaid. Ritzert recorded an 8-for-19, 206-yard passing performance. He and Herrick collaborated 3 times for 91 yards and their 2nd score in as many games. However, Greenville's ground game garnered just 102 yards, more than half on Mason Dickens' 53-yard, 4th-quarter run. Also, Levi Swartz secured 3 passes for 90 yards and rushed for another 24 for Trojans' taskmaster Brian Herrick.
WILMINGTON 13 8 7 14 42
GREENVILLE 0 7 0 8 15
W — DeCaprio, 44 run (Winters kick)
W — Edwards, 4 run (kick failed)
G — Herrick, 76 pass from Ritzert (B.Stefanowicz kick)
W — Edwards, 87 kickoff return (Miller run)
W — DeCaprio, 11 run (Winters kick)
W — DeCaprio, 2 run (Winters kick)
W — Edwards, 23 pass from McConahy (Winters kick)
G — Kincaid, 33 pass from Ritzert (Hyde run)
22 First downs 10
287 Rushing yards 102
102 Passing yards 206
9-7-0 Att-Comp-Int 20-8-1
389 Total yards 308
4-2 Fumbles-lost 3-0
7-65 Penalties-yards 4-25
Rushing: WILMINGTON — DeCaprio 15-124, Edwards 18-121, Miller 4-16, Mendenhall 1-11, Rossi 1-9, McConahy 4-3, Gardner 1-2, Jones 1-0; GREENVILLE — Dickens 2-56, Swartz 7-24, Bowser 1-9, Hyde 2-8, Solderich 1-5, Ritzert 3-4, Rottman 1-3, Sasala 2-2, Team 1-(-2).
Passing: WILMINGTON — McConahy 9-7-0, 102; GREENVILLE — Ritzert 19-8-1, 206; Philson 1-0-0.
Receiving: WILMINGTON — Edwards 2-41, Miller 2-29, McCallister 2-23, DeCaprio 1-12; GREENVILLE — Herrick 3-91, Swartz 3-85, Kincaid 1-33, Strausser 1-(-3),