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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.



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).
Wilmington 0 7 14 0 0 21
West Middlesex 7 6 6 6 0 25
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