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Game of the Week

Wilmington edges Slippery Rock for District 10 title

Wilmington (21) vs. Slippery Rock (14)
Written: Nov 24, 2008
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By JOHN D’ABRUZZO

jdabruzzo@ncnewsonline.com

SLIPPERY ROCK — Jake DeMedal was stuck on Jono Powell’s eyes.

The Wilmington High junior cornerback patiently followed each movement by the Slippery Rock quarterback and ended up at the perfect place at the perfect time.

DeMedal snagged the game-deciding interception in overtime to help the Greyhounds secure a 21-14 victory over Slippery Rock for the program’s third consecutive District 10, Class AA championship on a frigid Saturday night at Slippery Rock University.

“I came from the opposite side of the field and the quarterback rolled away from me, so I followed my receiver, read (Powell’s) eyes and jumped on the pass,” DeMedal said. “I don’t remember anything after that.

“It’s the best game of my life and I’m so thankful for that play.”

The win gives Wilmington its ninth district crown since 1994, totaling seven in Class AA with a pair in Class AAA.

The ’Hounds (12-1), who are ranked No. 8 in the state poll by the Harrisburg Patriot-News, advance to the second round of the PIAA Class AA playoffs. Wilmington will play District 6-champion Martinsburg Central (11-2) at 7 p.m. Friday at Slippery Rock University.

“If you can’t stop the other team then you have a problem,” veteran ’Hounds coach Terry Verrelli said. “We had difficulty stopping them. They’re a gutsy group of kids and so are our guys.

“I guess it’s pretty fitting that the D-10 game would end this way.”

OVERTIME VICTORY

Tied at 14 after regulation, Wilmington won possession on the coin toss at the start of overtime.

Sophomore back Sutton Whiting ran for no gain on the first play before DeMedal got five yards on the second attempt. The ’Hounds followed with a score when senior quarterback Shane Wagner completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to his cousin, senior receiver Matt Wagner.

“We kind of made up our own route,” Matt Wagner said. “Coach said to run a post. I went out and we tried calling a timeout because (coach Verrelli) didn’t want me out that wide, but I ended up catching it. I won’t complain.”

The Rockets (9-4), who lost to Wilmington during the regular season, 42-6, looked for the equalizer with a pair of pass attempts. The first was incomplete and intended for Justin Angerett, and the second was intercepted by DeMedal.

“We knew when we got in a battle, we would need to be a little more seasoned mentally to play a tough game like this,” said Verrelli, referring to Wilmington’s lone loss to Karns City in the regular-season finale. “Slippery Rock played a great football game and there’s no question about it.

“And it’s tough when you beat someone once and then you come back and try to do it again. The advantage is not on your side.”

MISSED CHANCES

Each team had scoring opportunities early in the game but failed.

Slippery Rock missed a 43-yard field goal attempt during the first possession of the game, and Wilmington followed by turning the ball over with an incomplete pass on fourth-and-five at the Rockets’ 20.

After a scoreless first quarter, Wilmington found the end zone with a 4-yard touchdown run by Whiting early in the second quarter. That score was set up courtesy of a 56-yard run by junior Derrick Burns.

Slippery Rock answered with 17.7 seconds remaining in the second quarter when Derrick Orloski scored on a 4-yard pass from Powell to tie the contest at 7 at halftime.

Burns, who led all rushers with 140 yards on nine carries, scored with 4:45 left in the third quarter on a 73-yard dash down the Wilmington sideline.

Isaac Osborne helped the Rockets tie the game at 14 on a 2-yard touchdown run with 3:10 remaining.

“I don’t know if we could have played any better,” Slippery Rock coach Clyde Conti said. “I thought we did some things and changed it up, but they are a talented team.

“These kids played their hearts out. We just came up a nickel short.”

THE DIGITS

Wilmington outgained Slippery Rock in total offense, 270-240, on a mere seven first downs. The Rockets had 14.

“They did a good job offensively and moved the ball a little bit and kept us off the field,” Verrelli said. “I never felt coming in that we were going to walk away with anything.

“It’s a championship game and they’re a good football team, too. It was one to watch, that’s for sure.”

The ’Hounds, however, were constantly penalized throughout the game and racked up 110 yards on 10 flags.

“It’s hard (to stay focused) when you have so many penalties,” DeMedal said. “The false starters, personal fouls and holding; after a long series, you really start to get frustrated, but you have to come together as a team and that’s what we did.”

Both Powell and Shane Wagner completed 5 of 10 passes with one interception and one touchdown. Powell threw for 66 yards and Wagner tossed for 34.

Powell ran for another 57 yards on 18 carries, while Osborne led the Rockets’ rushing attack with 93 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

Whiting gained 61 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.

“We knew it was going to be a big game and tough,” senior lineman Clint DeRosa said. “It’s always harder to play a team a second time, especially when you beat them like we did (the first time).

“They threw some stuff at us and definitely showed up to play. That’s not the same team we faced during the regular season. They fought hard and I give them a lot of credit. They gave us a good run.”

SLIPPERY ROCK WILMINGTON

14 First downs 7

182 Yards Rushing 243

8 Yards Lost 7

174 Net Rushing 236

10 Passes Attempted 10

5 Passes Completed 5

1 Passes Intercepted 1

66 Yards Passing 34

240 Total Yards 270

3-1 Fumbles-Lost 1-0

4-35 Punts-Average 5-38.4

3-25 Penalties-Yards 10-110

SLIPPERY ROCK 0 7 0 7 0 — 14

WILMINGTON 0 7 7 0 7— 21

Scoring plays

WILMINGTON — Sutton Whiting, 4-yard run (Bryce Wilson kick).

SLIPPERY ROCK — Derrick Orloski, 4-yard pass from Jono Powell (Michael Ramirez kick).

WILMINGTON — Derrick Burns, 73-yard run (Wilson kick).

SLIPPERY ROCK — Isaac Osborne, 2-yard run (Ramirez kick).

WILMINGTON — Matt Wagner, 5-yard pass from Shane Wagner (Wilson kick).
GAME SCOREBOARD
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT SCORE
Wilmington 0 7 7 0 7 21
Slippery Rock 0 7 0 7 0 14
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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