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Game of the Week

Wilmington holds off Martinsburg Central

Wilmington (21) vs. Martinsburg Central (19)
Written: Nov 29, 2008
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SLIPPERY ROCK — Taking the game to its limit seems to be a new trend for the Wilmington High football team.

For the second straight week, the Greyhounds pulled off a PIAA Class AA playoff victory in dramatic fashion.

With a two-touchdown lead entering the fourth quarter, Wilmington gave up 12 unanswered points but stopped a two-point pass attempt, as well as a final-second drive by Martinsburg Central, to secure a 21-19 quarterfinal victory at Slippery Rock University.

The ’Hounds (13-1), who are ranked No. 4 in Class AA state poll by the Harrisburg Patriot-News, will meet Aliquippa (12-2) in the semifinals next week. A time, date and site has yet to be determined.

The Quips, who are ranked fifth in the state poll, are the WPIAL Class AA champions. They defeated District 9 champion Karns City last night, 42-14.

This will be Wilmington’s third consecutive trip to the western final. The ’Hounds lost to Jeannette in the state semifinals the past two years.

Still, for Wilmington coach Terry Verrelli, last night was nothing to celebrate.

“I’m not real happy with the way we played,” he said. “Both sides didn’t do a very good job — offense or defense.”


The ’Hounds jumped out to a 14-7 lead at the half and found the end zone again in the third quarter. The Scarlet Dragons (11-3), however, weren’t ready to surrender.

Central quarterback Derek Forshey orchestrated the offense, first with a 16-yard pass to Jordon Saylor at 9:20 and then with a 2-yard pass to Shane Cafferty with 34.3 left in the game.

“It just seemed like it was quicksand. You make one mistake and then another, another and another,” senior captain Clint DeRosa said. “It’s hard to come back from mistakes.

“It was a close game and we’re lucky to get through this one, but I’ll guarantee next week we’re showing up ready to play.”

The Scarlet Dragons went for the two-point conversion, but Forshey’s pass attempt was broken up by junior linebacker Chad Palladino.

“We’ve worked on that (type of play) in practice and it was just a natural reaction,” Palladino said. “We covered it, but our linemen put pressure on the quarterback.

“I have to give all the credit to the linemen. They did a great job.”


Wilmington still wasn’t out of the woods.

Central got the ball back with an onside kick and threatened with less than a minute to play.

Forshey, who completed 16 of 41 attempts for 180 yards, failed on his first two attempts before hitting Wes Flaugh for a first down at the Wilmington 34.

With the clock dwindling, Forshey had three more chances.

After gaining nine yards with a hook-and-lateral play, Forshey missed the next three attempts. His last, with 5.8 seconds left, was intended for Flaugh, who had his back turned.

“We somehow managed to pull it out even though in my opinion, it shouldn’t have been that extreme,” Verrelli said. “We’re moving on. I’m not happy, that’s for sure. We’ll go back and straighten things out for next week.”

Wilmington outgained Central in total offense, 288-229.

“(The offense was) clicking, it’s just not scoring,” Verrelli said. “They shoot themselves in the foot somehow before they get in the end zone.”


The ’Hounds did pick up a needed score in the third quarter.

DeRosa came up with a big fumble recovery and ran it back 30 yards down to the Central 9. That set up a 6-yard touchdown by Sutton Whiting to give Wilmington a 21-7 lead.

“That was a big play, but we still had our chances,” a teary-eyed Central coach A.J. Hoenstine said. “We put our defense in a bad position, but we had a chance to win the game in the end and that’s all you can ask for.”

Whiting rushed for 63 yards on eight carries. Fellow back Jake DeMedal, who scored the ’Hounds’ first touchdown on a 20-yard run, gained 55 yards on nine carries. Derrick Burns, who gained 41 yards on 12 carries, scored the other touchdown on a 16-yard run.

Quarterback Shane Wagner powered the offense by completing 8 of 16 attempts for 107 yards.

Wilmington still struggled at times, racking up 87 yards on 11 penalties.

“But not just penalties, fumbles and just not getting it done, I guess,” Verrelli said.

“(We played) well enough to win and that was it, and that’s going to have to change. We’re not going to win any more if we don’t straighten that out.”

For the better part of the game, Central pushed Wilmington without its top performer.

Sophomore running back Lucas Runk, who entered the game averaging 120 yards rushing, suffered a left knee injury and was carried off the field with 1:49 left in the first quarter.

“Some guys stepped up,” Hoenstine said. “In the first half, we didn’t make plays we usually make and to go in 14-7 at halftime we were really happy with that. We just played very good football and our defense stepped up.

“We’re not one-dimensional, but when a guy who does so much for you goes down, it’s tough. But I thought Derek Forshey really stepped up in the second half and our receivers made some catches.

“Nobody expected us to be here, but we came in expecting to win.”


13 First downs 12

77 Yards Rushing 202

28 Yards Lost 21

49 Net Rushing 181

41 Passes Attempted 16

16 Passes Completed 8

2 Passes Intercepted 0

180 Yards Passing 107

229 Total Yards 288

3-1 Fumbles-Lost 4-2

3-33 Punts-Average 4-32.5

2-10 Penalties-Yards 11-87

CENTRAL 0 7 0 12 — 19

WILMINGTON 14 0 7 0 — 21

Scoring plays

WILMINGTON — Jake DeMedal, 20-yard run (Bryce Wilson kick).

WILMINGTON — Derrick Burns, 16-yard run (Wilson kick).

CENTRAL — Derek Forshey, 3-yard run (Devin Miller kick).

WILMINGTON — Sutton Whiting, 6-yard run (Wilson kick).

CENTRAL — Jordon Saylor, 16-yard pass from Forshey (kick failed).

CENTRAL — Shane Cafferty, 2-yard pass fom Forshey (pass failed).

Wilmington 14 0 7 0 0 21
Martinsburg Central 0 7 0 12 0 19
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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 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