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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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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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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).
Wilmington 0 7 7 0 7 21
Slippery Rock 0 7 0 7 0 14
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