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Game of the Week

Opportunity lost

Wilmington (0) vs. Sharpsville (40)
Written: Oct 25, 2014
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By Ron Poniewasz Jr.

New Castle News

The scenario coming into last night’s game was a simple one for the Wilmington High football team.

Win and the Greyhounds are District 10, Region 1-A outright champions and bound for the postseason.

Sharpsville had other ideas, though.

The Blue Devils held host Wilmington to five first downs and 76 yards of total offense en route to a 40-0 region win.

“We move on, that’s what we’ll do,” Greyhounds coach Terry Verrelli said of how his team will pick up the pieces from the setback. “We have a game next week. We’ll practice. If we don’t get in the playoffs, we don’t get in the playoffs. That’s just the way it is. Nothing is going to be any different for us.

“We lost the game and we played terrible.”

Verrelli’s team was in an ideal situation entering the Week 9 contest.

“That’s exactly the spot you want to be in,” he said. “We just didn’t get the job done, that’s for sure.”

Last night signaled the end of region play for the seven teams in Region 1-A. Five squads — Wilmington, Lakeview, Sharpsville, West Middlesex and Farrell — all conclude league play with 4-2 conference marks.

“As the season went on we knew it would probably be even more, like a six- or seven-team race because every team is about as equal as you’re going to get,” Blue Devils coach Paul Piccirilli said of the balance of the league. “When we lost two heartbreakers and we played a heck of a defensive game in each game, we told our seniors that someone has to make a play.

“Would I have thought this in a million years (a 40-point win over Wilmington)? No way. I respect the heck out of how Terry runs his program and his staff. It got out of hand. I’m glad for our sake, maybe I can finally sleep tonight. I’m very proud of our kids.”

Piccirilli noted his team prepared well leading up to last night’s battle.

“There’s a lot of pressure on our kids,” he said. “We had a fun week of practice. They knew they had nothing to lose. This is our third chance. We lost against Lakeview and Farrell. Maybe more pressure was on (Wilmington), I don’t know.”

District 10 plays a 10th regular-season game before the playoffs start. Wilmington (5-3 overall) will host Slippery Rock at 7 p.m. and Sharpsville (7-2) will travel to Greenville.

Wilmington quarterback Reese Bender was picked off on the fourth play of the game and Sharpsville took over at the Greyhounds’ 24. Six plays later, Dayne Smith was in the end zone when he hauled in a 13-yard scoring pass from Luke Henwood. Nick Henwood booted the extra point and the Blue Devils were up 7-0 with 7:21 to go in the opening quarter.

“That’s early in the game. That kind of thing happens,” Verrelli said of the early turnover. “It doesn’t mean too much right then. It’s the beginning of the game. Play football, stop them and move the ball when you have it. We really didn’t play well on either side of the ball.

“Offensively was the real problem I think. We didn’t move the ball at all.”

Piccirilli, though, does believe that early pick played a factor.

“Without a doubt it set the tone,” he said. “We struggled all year. We used to be a team that we’d get four yards or five yards and drive it all the way down the field and score. This year hasn’t been one of those years because of our defensive play.”

Sharpsville built a 21-0 lead and carried that into the half. Wilmington set up its only scoring opportunity of the game when the hosts pinned the Blue Devils at their own 2. Sharpsville gained just two yards and was forced to punt.

Wilmington took over on Sharpsville’s 36 with 1:34 to go in the half and marched to the 5. But Bender threw an incompletion on first down, mishandled a snap in the shotgun on second down to lose 11 yards back to the 16 and spiked the ball on third down because the team was out of timeouts.

Bender fired an incompletion on fourth down and Sharpsville took over with six-tenths of a second left in the half.

“I think that’s just indicative of how the offense played tonight,” Verrelli said. “They weren’t getting anything done. That would have certainly given us a little more spirit in the second half to go in there and score. It just wasn’t our night.

“That was a bad snap on the one play and it cost us a down. There wasn’t too much we did right tonight. I mean, jumping offsides. The first quarter was like give them the game why don’t you? We’re not a good enough team to be in the hole and recover. Probably nothing different happens if we score there late in the half judging by the way we played tonight. It would give us some encouragement. But I don’t think a whole lot was going to change.”

The District 10 playoff pairings will be released next weekend.

(Email: rponiewasz@ncnewsonline.com)

SHARPSVILLE WILMINGTON

18 First downs 5

211 Yards Rushing 61

8 Yards Lost 37

203 Net Rushing 24

16 Passes Attempted 18

9 Passes Completed 6

1 Passes Intercepted 1

189 Yards Passing 52

392 Total Yards 76

2-0 Fumbles-Lost 3-1

2-30 Punts-Average 6-37.1

5-55 Penalties-Yards 6-37

SHARPSVILLE 7 14 6 13 —40

WILMINGTON 0 0 0 0 — 0

Scoring plays

SHARPSVILLE — Dayne Smith, 13-yard pass from Luke Henwood (Nick Henwood kick).

SHARPSVILLE — Greg Popatak, 2-yard run (N. Henwood kick).

SHARPSVILLE — Popatak, 2-yard run (N. Henwood kick).

SHARPSVILLE — Tyrin Peavy, 14-yard pass from L. Henwood (kick failed).

SHARPSVILLE — Popatak, 9-yard run (N. Henwood kick).

SHARPSVILLE — Tyler Wansack, 57-yard run (kick failed).
GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Wilmington 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sharpsville 7 14 6 13 0 40
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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