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Game of the Week

Coming up short

Wilmington (21) vs. West Middlesex (25)
Written: Sep 20, 2014
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By Ron Poniewasz Jr.

New Castle News

The dominance by the Wilmington High football team came to a halt last night.

The Greyhounds haven’t tasted defeat against West Middlesex since a setback in 1986. But Big Reds standouts Trey Staunch and Eric Lucich proved to be too much for the ’Hounds Hammer defensive unit.

Staunch and Lucich accounted for all four West Middlesex touchdowns in a 25-21 District 10, Region 1-A win over host Wilmington. The teams haven’t met regularly since that 1986 meeting, but it is the third-consecutive season they have squared off.

“We played a great game and so did they,” Greyhounds coach Terry Verrelli said. “It was a great game to watch. We lost and we have to move on.”

Wilmington (1-1 region, 2-1 overall) trailed 25-21 with 5:41 remaining in the contest when it took over at its own 35. The Greyhounds started the drive with all three timeouts left.

Wilmington methodically marched down the field, gaining four first downs, the last coming on the Big Reds’ 14.

Greyhounds quarterback Cody Llewellyn threw an incompletion on first down and he was sacked on second down, forcing the first timeout to be called.

Llewellyn scrambled on third-and-12 from the 16, reaching the West Middlesex 7. Wilmington called its second timeout, setting up a key fourth-down play. Llewellyn called his own number and ran up the middle on fourth down, but he gained just one of the necessary two yards and the Big Reds (2-1, 3-1) took over on downs at their own 6.

“Hindsight, you’d like to call a different play there. That one didn’t work,” Verrelli said. “We did what we could. They stopped us and they deserve the credit and they deserve the win.

“The game went back and forth. The bottom line is, we didn’t tackle very well.

Llewellyn rushed 13 times for 70 yards and two touchdowns (4, 1), while throwing for another score. He came into the game with 46 yards rushing on 13 attempts.

“Running is not really my thing,” Llewellyn said. “We don’t work on that a whole lot, but it’s there. The line knew it. We just have to do what we have to do.

“We just ran a keeper on fourth down. We were hoping we could do it one more time. We ran it a couple of times earlier in the game and we had success. You think maybe you can go to the well one more time, but I think maybe they knew it was coming or something happened. They stepped up and made a play.”

West Middlesex took over at its own 6 with 1:41 remaining and Wilmington holding just one timeout. Staunch took a knee on first down, prompting the Greyhounds to burn their final timeout. He ran up the middle on second and third down.

The clock was winding down as the Big Reds faced fourth down and Staunch took the snap with about five seconds left and he ran up in the middle of the line for a couple of yards. By the time the play was blown dead resulting in a change of possession, the time expired.

“When they blew the whistle, I don’t think they had to snap it again,” Verrelli said. “But, maybe he did have to snap it again.

“When he blew the whistle, I thought there was only like 20 seconds left. You get in those situations, you have to do what you think is the right thing to do.”

Wilmington was coming off a bye last week. The Greyhounds came out a bit slow in the first quarter.

West Middlesex took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in 12 plays. The drive was capped off by a one-yard sneak by Staunch, the quarterback.

“The layoff wasn’t a problem. We have some young kids too and they didn’t get the job done,” Verrelli said. “Sometimes sophomores aren’t quite ready. Missing tackles, (Staunch and Lucich) are good backs. The quarterback is big, you can’t bring him down with just one arm.”

Lucich surpassed 200 rushing yards for the second-straight week, finishing with 213 yards on 21 carries. Staunch added 52 rushing yards on 19 attempts.

The Greyhounds caught a break when Llewellyn picked off Staunch in the first quarter. Llewellyn returned it about 30 yards down to the Big Reds’ 10. But four plays netted just seven yards and Wilmington turned the ball over on downs.

“That was big,” Verrelli said of his team failing to score on that drive. “We didn’t get it done there. Obviously the plays didn’t work down there.”

The Big Reds went up 13-0 before the Greyhounds got going. Llewellyn ran in from four yards out with 44.6 seconds left in the half and James Gardner’s extra point cut the deficit to 13-7 at the break.

“I thought that was big to score right there before the half,” Verrelli said. “It got us back in the football game.”

Llewellyn’s one-yard touchdown plunge and his 10-yard scoring pass to Spencer DeMedal lifted Wilmington to a 21-13 advantage late in the third period.

But Lucich raced 66 yards for a score with 17 seconds to go in the third and Staunch’s one-yard sneak in the fourth closed the scoring.

“We played ball and we had a rhythm going,” said Verrelli of his team building an eight-point lead. “Defensively, we really didn’t stop Staunch and Lucich. We had them, but you have to play defense and we didn’t get it done.

“I think things would have come out differently if we could have tackled better. There’s a lot of ifs in a game. The bottom line is, we didn’t get it done.”

Wilmington returns to region action at 7 p.m. Friday when it travels to Farrell.

(Email: rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com)

W. MIDDLESEX WILMINGTON

19 First downs 13

314 Yards Rushing 142

36 Yards Lost 29

278 Net Rushing 113

13 Passes Attempted 14

8 Passes Completed 8

1 Passes Intercepted 0

57 Yards Passing 111

335 Total Yards 224

1-0 Fumbles-Lost 2-0

3-38.6 Punts-Average 5-36.4

4-35 Penalties-Yards 1-5

W. MIDDLESEX 7 6 6 6 — 25

WILMINGTON 0 7 14 0 — 21

Scoring plays

WEST MIDDLESEX — Trey Staunch, 1-yard run (Staunch kick).

WEST MIDDLESEX — Eric Lucich 34-yard run (kick failed).

WILMINGTON — Cody Llewellyn, 4-yard run (James Gardner kick).

WILMINGTON — Llewellyn, 1-yard run (Gardner kick).

WILMINGTON — Spencer DeMedal, 10-yard pass from Llewellyn (Gardner kick).

WEST MIDDLESEX — Lucich, 66-yard run (run failed).

WEST MIDDLESEX — Staunch, 1-yard run (run failed).
GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Wilmington 0 7 14 0 0 21
West Middlesex 7 6 6 6 0 25
GAME OF THE WEEK ARCHIVE
One step short 12/3/16 Neshannock season comes to end 11/27/16 The (im)perfect season 11/19/16 WPIAL championship game 11/18/16 New Castle advances to WPIAL Class 4A title game 11/11/16 Neshannock routs Serra Catholic 11/4/16 Neshannock hosts Serra Catholic 11/4/16 Thriller 10/28/16 Union at Shenango 10/28/16 'Canes stumble; playoff berth on line in finale 10/21/16 New Castle hosts Ringgold on Senior Night 10/21/16 Wilmington falls in battle of unbeatens 10/15/16 Wilmington at Hickory 10/13/16 On the defensive 10/8/16 Neshannock hosts Riverside 10/7/16 New Castle struggles in home loss to Mars 9/30/16 New Castle hosts Mars 9/30/16 'Canes hope to even score against Mars 9/30/16 Stayin' alive 9/23/16 Union hosts Western Beaver 9/23/16 Ground assault 9/17/16 Wilmington hosts Sharpsville 9/16/16 Too many mistakes for Laurel 9/10/16 Riverside travels to Laurel 9/9/16 Neshannock routs North Catholic 9/3/16 Canes quipped 8/31/16 A good mix 8/27/16 Black Friday 11/14/15 Wilmington vs. Cambridge Springs 11/13/15 Defense steps up for Lancers 11/7/15 Neshannock vs. Bentworth 11/5/15 No doubt about it 10/31/15 Neshannock vs. Union 10/30/15 Crowning effort 10/24/15 Shenango vs. Riverside 10/23/15 Playoff hopes dashed 10/17/15 Laurel vs. Beaver 10/16/15 A costly brawl 10/10/15 New Castle vs. Central Valley 10/9/15 Inching closer 10/3/15 Union vs. Shenango 10/2/15 'They had us on our heels' 9/26/15 South Side Beaver at Union 9/25/15 Shootout 9/19/15 Neshannock at Riverside 9/18/15 Pivotal 9/13/15 Neshannock, Shenango clash Saturday 9/11/15 Under the weather 9/5/15 New Brighton at Laurel 9/4/15 Heartbreaker 11/15/14 Neshannock vs. Clairton 11/14/14 Weathering the storm 11/8/14 Neshannock vs. Jeannette 11/7/14 Fast and furious 11/1/14 Springdale at Shenango 10/31/14 Opportunity lost 10/25/14 Sharpsville at Wilmington 10/24/14 One for the books 10/18/14 Ellwood City at Laurel 10/17/14 Ground war 10/11/14 Ellwood City at Mohawk 10/10/14 Drenched with happiness 10/4/14 South Side Beaver at Shenango 10/3/14 The perfect storm 9/27/14 Moon at New Castle 9/26/14 Coming up short 9/20/14 West Middlesex at Wilmington 9/19/14 Back in the saddle 9/13/14 Neshannock at Riverside 9/12/14 Tough act to follow 9/6/14 New Brighton at Ellwood City 9/5/14 'We will get better' 8/30/14 West Allegheny vs. New Castle 8/29/14 End of the road 11/16/13 Neshannnock vs. North Catholic 11/15/13 'Sharks in a frenzy' 11/9/13 Lancers advance to WPIAL semifinals 11/9/13 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/8/13 The best defense 11/2/13 Neshannock vs. Brentwood 11/1/13 'We battled to the end' 10/26/13 New Brighton at Mohawk 10/25/13 Costly blunders 10/19/13 Sto-Rox at Laurel 10/18/13 West Allegheny rallies in fourth to defeat 'Canes 10/12/13 West Allegheny at New Castle 10/11/13 Mohawk wins thriller behind McConahy, Barber 10/5/13 Ellwood City at Mohawk 10/4/13 Spartans ride big second half to win over Union 9/28/13 Laurel at Union 9/27/13 Burkes stars as Lancers escape upset bid 9/21/13 Shenango at Neshannock 9/20/13 So close ... 9/13/13 Neshannock at Sto-Rox 9/12/13 Run to glory 9/7/13 Laurel at Neshannock 9/6/13 Dando, Spartans roll over South Side Beaver 9/5/13 South Side Beaver vs. Laurel 8/30/13 Turnovers spell doom for Wilmington in D-10 title game 11/26/12 Wilmington vs. Hickory 11/24/12 Caught in a 'Bear' trap 11/17/12 Neshannock vs. Clairton in WPIAL Class A semifinals 11/15/12 Neshannock advances 11/10/12 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/9/12 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/9/12 Neshannock vs. Monessen 11/8/12 Neshannock advances 11/3/12 Neshannock vs. Jefferson-Morgan 11/2/12 Down and out 10/27/12 New Castle at Hopewell 10/26/12 Pugh paces Wilmington to win over Sharon 10/22/12 Wilmington vs. Sharon 10/19/12 Mohawk falls to Beaver 10/13/12 Beaver vs. Mohawk 10/12/12 ‘We tip our hats to them’ 10/8/12 Neshannock at Rochester 10/5/12 Big-play display for Union 9/29/12 Union vs. Laurel 9/28/12 Lancers rout Shenango for fourth win 9/24/12 Blend of old, new sparks Union win 9/22/12 Union hosts Western Beaver 9/21/12 ’Hounds rise up for win over Hickory 9/15/12 Wilmington vs. Hickory 9/14/12 Milestone victory 9/10/12 New Castle at Riverside 9/7/12 699 and counting 9/1/12 New Castle vs. Central Valley 8/31/12 Turnovers lead to season-ending loss for Wilmington 11/21/11 Wilmington vs. General McLane 11/17/11 End of the dream 11/12/11 Ellwood vs. Greensburg Central 11/11/11 Ellwood advances 11/5/11 Ellwood City vs. Freeport 11/4/11 Mixed reviews 10/29/11 New Castle vs. Blackhawk 10/28/11 Wilmington rolls to Region 3 title 10/22/11 Wilmington vs. Sharon 10/21/11 It's Polka time 10/15/11 Ellwood City vs. Laurel 10/14/11 Aliquippa cruises past Ellwood City 10/8/11 Aliquippa vs. Ellwood City 10/7/11 Wilmington holds on for thrilling win over Hickory 10/1/11 Wilmington vs. Hickory 9/30/11 Union pulls away for win over South Side Beaver 9/24/11 South Side Beaver at Union 9/23/11 Big plays spell doom for New Castle 9/17/11 Central Valley vs. New Castle 9/16/11 Defense delivers for Neshannock 9/10/11 Defense delivers for Neshannock 9/10/11 Neshannock vs. Serra Catholic 9/9/11 New Castle suffers disappointing loss in opener 9/3/11 New Castle vs. Butler 9/2/11 Sharon ends Wilmington’s dominance 11/22/10 ‘Underdog’ Greyhounds move on to a rematch with Sharon 11/15/10 Wilmington vs. North East 11/12/10 Tough lesson 11/6/10 WPIAL Playoffs: Ellwood vs. South Fayette 11/5/10 Wolverines earn playoff berth 10/30/10 Riverside at Ellwood City 10/29/10 'Hounds lose heartbreaker 10/23/10 Wilmington at Sharon 10/22/10 Wolverines outlast Spartans 10/16/10 Laurel at Ellwood City 10/15/10 'Canes fall to Parkway foe Hopewell 10/9/10 New Castle to battle Hopewell 10/8/10 Lancers fall to Western Beaver 10/2/10 Western Beaver at Neshannock 10/1/10 Wolverines fall to Beaver 9/25/10 Beaver at Ellwood City 9/24/10 Shenango runs past South Side 9/20/10 Greyhounds lay hammer down on Greenville 9/11/10 Wilmington vs. Greenville 9/10/10 New Castle comes through 9/4/10 New Castle vs. Butler 9/4/10 Memorable run ends for Wilmington football team 12/14/09 Wilmington vs. Greensburg Catholic 12/11/09 Wilmington survives close call against Forest Hills 12/4/09 Wilmington vs. Forest Hills 12/4/09 Wilmington blanks Sharon 11/28/09 Wilmington vs. Sharon 11/27/09 Laurel season ends with setback 11/21/09 Laurel vs. Clairton in WPIAL semifinals 11/20/09 West Allegheny ends New Castle’s season 11/14/09 New Castle vs. West Allegheny 11/13/09 New Castle holds off Greensburg Salem 11/7/09 New Castle at Greensburg Salem 11/6/09 Wilmington routs Slippery Rock 10/30/09 Slippery Rock at Wilmington 10/30/09 Shenango blanks Union 10/24/09 Shenango at Union 10/23/09 Spartans overwhelm Monaca 10/17/09 Monaca at Laurel 10/16/09 Mohawk outlasts Ellwood City 10/10/09 Mohawk at Ellwood City 10/9/09 Rochester turns back Laurel in battle of unbeatens 10/3/09 Laurel at Rochester 10/2/09 Laurel opportunistic against Neshannock 9/26/09 Neshannock at Laurel 9/25/09 New Castle ends streak against Blackhawk 9/19/09 New Castle hosts Blackhawk 9/18/09 New Castle passes test against Indiana 9/12/09 Indiana at New Castle 9/11/09 Ellwood comes up short against Freedom 9/5/09 Freedom at Ellwood 9/4/09 Wilmington wins PIAA title! 12/15/08 'Hounds headed for Hershey 12/6/08 Wilmington vs. Aliquippa 12/5/08 Wilmington holds off Martinsburg Central 11/29/08 Wilmington edges Slippery Rock for District 10 title 11/24/08 "Down and Out" 11/19/08 New Castle outlasts Indiana in quarterfinals 11/8/08 New Castle vs. Indiana 11/7/08 New Castle vs. Indiana 11/6/08 New Castle routs Franklin Regional 11/1/08 Franklin Regional at New Castle 11/1/08 Laurel wins, but not enough 10/25/08 Shenango at Laurel 10/25/08 New Castle routs Ambridge 10/18/08 Ambridge at New Castle 10/18/08 Rochester blanks Neshannock 10/11/08 Wilmington handles Sharon 10/4/08 South Side Beaver blanks Neshannock 9/27/08 Neshannock vs. South Side Beaver 9/27/08 Neshannock holds off Laurel 9/20/08 Rochester blanks Union 9/13/08 Union-Rochester 9/12/08 Mohawk routs New Brighton 9/6/08 Butler outlasts New Castle 8/30/08
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