Wilmington’s quick strikes doom the Greenville football team


GREENVILLE – Greenville withstood Wilmington’s initial punch Friday night but ultimately couldn’t stand up to all the hits as the Green Wave lost 60-27.

The Green Wave found themselves trailing 9-0 early in the game but battled back to take a lead. However, the Hurricane were able to regain the momentum and went on a 44-0 run in the second and third quarters to blow the game open.

“Obviously we didn’t have very good start giving up the kickoff return and then another stinking blocked punt, but we rallied. We come back and offensively we kind of picked ourselves up,” Greenville football coach Aaron Shaffer said. “When they knocked us down again we didn’t respond the way we did the first time, and that’s hard to do.”

Friday’s game couldn’t have started much worse for Greenville as it allowed Dylan Beaugard to return the opening kickoff for a touchdown and then fumbled its first kick return.

Trailing 7-0 and backed up deep in its own territory, the Greenville defense was able to come up with a big play when Tyler Beyke recovered a Wilmington fumble at the 13-yard line.

However, the momentum was short lived as Greenville went three and out on offense then had a punt blocked for a safety, putting the Green Wave in a 9-0 hole after just two minutes and 16 seconds of game action.

Greenville’s defense came up with another big play on the ensuing drive when Noah Walker got a strip sack of Wilmington’s Brady Evans.

Taking over near midfield, Greenville’s offense responded with a 51-yard touchdown drive that spanned 10 plays and culminated in a 3-yard touchdown run by Jarrad Crist. The extra point was no good, leaving the score at 9-6.

After forcing a punt, Greenville put together another scoring drive with Owen Paulus connecting with Alec Fletcher for a 43-yard touchdown pass to give the Green Wave their first lead of the night at 13-9 late in the first quarter.

“I told him before the game, I said, ‘Tonight’s your night, Alec,’ and for him individually he had a good game,” Shaffer said.

After falling behind for the first time, Wilmington battled back with a 10-play drive that covered 75 yards. DJ Ames capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Hurricane back on top, 16-13, early in the second quarter.

Greenville didn’t trail for long, though, as Paulus and Fletcher connected again – this time for 56 yards out – to put Greenville back on top 20-16 with 9:03 left in the first half.

“He ran a couple great routes, and Owen put a ball on him,” Shaffer said.

From there, though, the wheels fell off for Greenville.

Wilmington answered just 55 seconds later with a 4-yard touchdown run by Beaugard to give the Hurricane a 23-20 lead – a lead they held the rest of the night.

Wilmington stuffed Greenville on a fourth and 1 on the ensuing possession then needed just one play for Ames to run 45 yards for a touchdown and put the Hurricane up 30-20 midway through the second quarter.

“At that point we needed to gather ourselves up both coaches and players and try to rally ourselves back up with some energy, and it took us too long to do anything in that regard,” said Shaffer, who pointed to that sequence as a major turning point in the game.

In the final five minutes of the first half, Wilmington showed its big-play ability with three touchdown drives that lasted just two or three plays each. First Beaugard scored on a 27-yard run, Frantz Cherisca then scored on a 1-yard run and finally Beaugard caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Evans to suddenly make it 51-20 entering halftime.

“They’re extremely athletic,” Shaffer said. “They’ve got three or four guys on offense that are going to cause matchup problems for anybody.”

Greenville and Wilmington traded turnovers to start the second half, including Crist intercepting a Hurricane pass deep in Green Wave territory. However, that set up a sack in the end zone that increased Wilmington’s lead to 53-20.

Wilmington then returned the ensuing kick to the 6-yard line and needed just one play for Craig Schiff to score and make it 60-20 early in the third quarter.

After giving up 44 consecutive points, Greenville was able to hold Wilmington in check the rest of the night and also got one more score of its own. Late in the fourth quarter Paulus found Marcus Wood for an 81-yard touchdown pass, making it a 60-27 final score.

“For about a 17-minute stretch in the first half we looked pretty dang good,” Shaffer said. “We’ve got to sustain that for 48 minutes because that’s how long a high school football game is.”

Paulus was 13-of-25 passing for 273 yards and three touchdowns for Greenville. Wood caught five passes for 113 yards and a touchdown while Fletcher caught two passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns.

Crist led Greenville on the ground with 55 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

Tony Sells had a team-high seven tackles while Walker had four tackles, a sack and fumble recovery. Beyke also recovered a fumble, and Crist intercepted a pass.

For Wilmington, Evans was 14-of-18 passing for 221 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Beaugard caught six passes for 60 yards and a touchdown.

Ames led the Hurricane rushing attack with 86 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Beaugard had 67 yards and two touchdowns on four attempts. Schiff ran six times for 35 yards and a score, and Cherisca had two carries for 2 yards and a touchdown.

Wilmington improved to 1-1 on the year with the win while Greenville fell to 0-2. The Green Wave will travel to Urbana on Friday to face the Hillclimbers, who beat Stebbins 27-24 on Friday to improve to 1-1.

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Greenville’s Jarrad Crist carries the ball during a football game against Wilmington on Friday night in Greenville.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/09/web1_Jarrad-Crist-WEB-1.jpgGreenville’s Jarrad Crist carries the ball during a football game against Wilmington on Friday night in Greenville. Kyle Shaner | The Daily Advocate

By Kyle Shaner

kshaner@dailyadvocate.com

Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.