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Game of the Week

Wilmington holds on for thrilling win over Hickory

Wilmington (28) vs. Hickory (27)
Written: Oct 01, 2011
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By Ron Poniewasz Jr.

New Castle News

Four quarters of a hard-fought football game came down to one good push last night.

And what a push it was for the Wilmington High football team.

The interior of the Greyhounds’ line shoved Hickory back and forced a blocked extra point with 55 seconds remaining in the contest. That block preserved a one-point Wilmington lead and it closed out the remainder of the clock for a 28-27 District 10, Region 3-AA win over the Hornets.

“Just determination in there,” Greyhounds coach Terry Verrelli said of the clutch block. “This game was everything we expected it to be. I think it was certainly everything everyone wanted to see.

“It was a great game; it was a big game. But it was just another one.”

Wilmington (3-0 region, 5-0 overall) is alone in first place in the region standings by a game over Hickory (2-1, 4-1), with just two region games left for each school.

The Hornets trailed 28-14 in the fourth quarter after leading 14-0 in the first quarter. But they drove 80 yards in nine plays to draw within 28-21 with 5:04 to play on a 19-yard scoring pass from Mike Nardone to Andrew Smith.

The Greyhounds had a chance to put the game away if they could have recorded at least three first downs. But Hickory was able to burn its final two timeouts and get the ball back on a fourth-down stop at its own 22 with 1:24 left.

The Hornets quickly marched 70 yards in just four plays, culminating with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Nardone to DeShawn Coleman with 55 ticks remaining. Coleman took the aerial and just reached the left corner of the end zone for the score.

“We knew they could throw the ball,” Verrelli said. “I was just hoping we could pick one of them off. Nardone is a big quarterback and he’s a good athlete.”

Nardone was 10 of 17 through the air for 164 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception. He was 9 of 11 in the fourth frame for 139 yards.

“We do two-minute drills and run great routes,” Hornets coach Bill Brest said of his team’s passing attack. “I thought the kids did a great job; I’m proud of them.”

Jordan Wombacker was perfect on extra points leading up to the final attempt, but the kick never had a chance to clear the crossbar. A host of ’Hounds broke through the line and slammed the ball back toward the other goal line, holding on to a one-point cushion.

“We just bobbled the snap,” Brest said.

Wilmington got off to a poor start. Coleman ripped off touchdown runs of 60 and 86 yards, giving Hickory a 14-0 lead with 2:24 remaining in the opening quarter. Coleman finished the first 12 minutes with three carries for 155 yards.

He recorded 207 rushing yards on 14 jaunts for the game.

“When you get him around the corner, he’s gone. He’s quite a back,” Verrelli said of Coleman.

Hickory had a chance to take command, but penalties proved costly. The Hornets finished with 11 penalties for 100 yards, including a holding infraction that called back a 31-yard scoring run by Coleman in the second quarter that would have pushed the lead to 21-0.

“I’m just disappointed in the penalties. We had complete dominance in the first half,” Brest said. “We thought we were doing a good job of executing in the first half, but penalties hurt us.

“Instead of 14-0, it’s 28-0 (without the penalties). I’m not saying they were bad calls because they’re not. But they hurt.”

Two plays later, Coleman was stuffed on fourth-and-inches from the Greyhounds’ 31 with 9:28 left in the opening half. Wilmington took that momentum and mounted a six-play, 70 yard scoring drive. Tight end Donnie Watson capped the drive with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Josh Tekac to close to 14-7.

Watson snared his second touchdown pass of the game on a 35-yard aerial with 34 seconds left in the half to knot the count at 14 at the break.

“I just saw the ball up in the air and put my arms up and caught them,” Watson said. “They were nerve-racking. Neither one was easy.

“Josh knows where I’ll be and I know where the ball is going.”

Wilmington returns to action Friday when it hosts Grove City at 7 p.m. The Eagles, a District 10, Class AAA school, improved to 5-0 last night with a 56-7 rout of Meadville.



14 First downs 15

263 Yards Rushing 328

15 Yards Lost 26

248 Net Rushing 302

17 Passes Attempted 5

10 Passes Completed 2

1 Passes Intercepted 1

164 Yards Passing 68

412 Total Yards 370

5-2 Fumbles-Lost 2-0

3-23.3 Punts-Average 3-30.6

11-100 Penalties-Yards 4-40

HICKORY 14 0 0 13 — 27

WILMINGTON 0 14 14 0 — 28

Scoring plays

HICKORY — DeShawn Coleman, 60-yard run (Jordan Wombacker kick).

HICKORY — Coleman, 86-yard run (Wombacker kick).

WILMINGTON — Donnie Watson, 33-yard pass from Josh Tekac (Harrison Sturm kick).

WILMINGTON — Watson, 35-yard pass from Tekac (Sturm kick).

WILMINGTON — Tekac, 6-yard run ( Sturm kick).

WILMINGTON — Tyler Donati, fumble recovery in end zone (Sturm kick).

HICKORY — Andrew Smith, 19-yard pass from Mike Nardone (Wombacker kick).

HICKORY — Coleman, 10-yard pass from Nardone (kick blocked).
Wilmington 0 14 14 0 0 28
Hickory 14 0 0 13 0 27
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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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