WILMINGTON – After battling to a 7-7 standoff in the first half, Wilmington pulled away from Greenville with 19 unanswered points and defeated the Green Wave in non-league action at Alumni Field Friday night, 26-7.
WHS is now 2-0 on the season while Greenville fell to 1-1.
“I’m really proud of our kids. They handled adversity well tonight,” Hurricane head coach Scott Killen said. “Adversity smacked us right in the face with a few kids going down, but others stepped up for us big time. We started out as a team, but we became a family tonight. We had seniors and even some sophomores stepping in for some big plays.”
For the Green Wave, it was a case of missed opportunities, and miscues, including a pair of crucial penalties that hurt Greenville’s chances to get the win, head coach Aaron Shaffer said.
“Give Wilmington credit,” Shaffer said. “They capitalized on our mistakes, and we made some crucial penalties, which really hurt us. Good teams capitalize on mistakes, and that’s what Wilmington did tonight. Coach Killen does a nice job with them. They are quick and very tough. It was a very physical game.”
The Green Wave turned the ball over three times, including one interception and a pair of fumbles. WHS signal-caller Brady Evans had a pair of interceptions.
Two Brady Henry field goals, from 34 yards and 31 yards, enabled Wilmington to snap the 7-7 deadlock en route to a 13-7 lead after three quarters.
The real excitement, from Wilmington’s perspective, came as the fourth quarter unfolded. It was the play of the game, and Dylan Beaugard orchestrated it.
Wilmington seized the momentum with an electrifying run by Beaugard on the opening play of the fourth quarter. With the ball at the 16, Beaugard was seemingly stopped at the line of scrimmage. However, he eluded Greenville tacklers and sprinted down the right side of the field, galloping 84 yards to paydirt. Henry’s point after kick sailed wide right, but WHS held a 19-7 advantage.
Beaugard later collected his third touchdown of the night on an 11-yard run at the 6:24 mark of the fourth. Henry’s PAT was good, which closed out the WHS scoring.
Beaugard collected 151 yards rushing on 12 carries along with 52 yards receiving on five receptions, giving him 203 yards in total offense on the night.
On Greenville’s next possession, Wilmington defender D.J. Ames sealed the win with an interception of Green Wave quarterback Kyle Phillips with 5:52 remaining in regulation.
The teams battled to a scoreless first quarter as the defenses set the tone early-on.
Greenville had taken a 7-0 lead on the opening play of the second quarter when running back Logan Eldridge scored on a 15-yard run. Kicker Ethan Flanery booted the PAT through the uprights. Eldridge collected 114 yards rushing on 12 carries before sustaining a third quarter injury.
Wilmington was able to tie the game on a 3-yard pass play from Evans to Beaugard at the 8:52 mark of the second quarter, and Henry’s PAT kick knotted the score at 7-7. It was a battle of field position the remainder of the first half as the teams headed to the locker-room tied at 7-7.
For the game, Wilmington outgained Greenville in total yards, 379-253. WHS had a decided advantage on the ground, gaining 297 yards rushing while the Green Wave had 185.
In week three, Greenville will face the Urbana Hillclimbers while Wilmington travels to Vandalia to face the Butler Bulldogs.
Bill Liermann covers high school sports for the Wilmington News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @lierjet.