Wilmington Greyhounds Manhandle Slippery Rock for 40-0 Win
Written by: William Albright on Saturday, October 31st, 2009
NEW WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Greyhounds, playing some of their best football of the season, unleashed all of their weapons Friday night as the defending PIAA Class AA state champions completely dominated the Slippery Rock Rockets for a 40-0 victory on senior night.
The Greyhounds (8-1, 6-1) lost their only game of the season to Hickory, a 21-14 setback in the fifth game of the campaign. Since that time, the ‘Hounds have outscored their last four opponents by a 160-7 margin, a streak that included three consecutive shutouts over Reynolds (64-0), Titusville (35-0) and the Rock (40-0).
“It is difficult when you are winning to stay pumped up for every game,” said veteran Wilmington coach Terry Verrelli. “Every year there seems to be one game when you come out flat for whatever reason. Sometimes that just happens, and when it does, it is easy to realize that you have to be prepared to play your best game. Losses like that many times energize you and make you realize that you can’t things for granted in this game.”
Following the game, Slippery Rock coach Glenn “Pops” Hartzell had nothing but praise for the Greyhounds.
“They are playing very well and they are a very well-coached team with a lot of talent,” said Hartzell. “What else can I say.”
Offensively, the Greyhounds rolled up 290 yards of offense, led by the running tandem of Sutton Whiting and Derrick Burns. Whiting carried the ball seven times for 113 yards and two scores, while Burns wound up with an even 100 yards on 10 lugs, the Pitt-bound senior finding the end zone once. In addition to his pair of rushing touchdowns, Whiting completed his “hat trick” by taking a Slippery Rock punt 47 yards to the “house”.
“They are both great running backs,” lauded Verrelli. “And tonight, we really didn’t have to use Jake (quarterback DeMedal), but if we have to, he is also a threat. But Derrick and Sutton are premier running backs, no question about it.”
Although the ‘Hounds dominated the game up front both offensively and defensively, Verrelli was quick to point out those areas are a work in progress.
“Those are the two areas where we had to replace a lot of good kids from last year,” he said. “It takes a while and I think defensively is where it showed up early in the year. (Kris) Christofferson has turned into a first-class defensive tackle. He is a great player. As the year goes on and they improve, they are playing great football.”
While the ‘Hounds were running up and down the field, the Rockets were having more than their share of problems just moving the ball. A quick look at the game stats would verify that situation as the Rockets could only muster 47 yards of total offense, 40 on the ground and seven through the airlanes.
“They have a total package,” said Hartzell. “And that tackle (Kris Christofferson), he is dragging our running back down from behind. He along with 52 (Brad Zaboroski) and 58 (Joe Bloise), we watched them on film and we knew what was coming. But the bottom line is that you just have to play.”
After misfiring on their first possession, Wilmington got the ball rolling when quarterback Jake DeMedal tossed a laser to Chad Palladino from 20 yards out for the game’s first score.
Not wasting any time, the ‘Hounds quickly made it 14-0 less than two minutes later when Sutton “Scooter” Whiting hauled in a Rock punt and took it to the house from 47 yards out. Bryce Wilson made it 14-0 after one quarter with his first of four conversions.
Three minutes into the second period, Burns got into the act when he swept left end untouched from three yards out for the score, and three minutes later, Whiting bolted to pay dirt from eight yards out for his first of two rushing touchdowns.
Not to be denied, the “Hound Hammer” put some points on the board when Jake DeVido picked off an Ayron Gallagher aerial and returned the “pick” 32 yards for a score. Wilson’s PAT made it 33-0 Wilmington at halftime.
With the huge lead, the ‘Hounds put the game into the “Mercy Rule” and it only took them 29 seconds to get the job done. Burns picked up 12 yards on first down, and on the next play, Whiting outraced the entire Rocket defense as he sprinted 57 yards for the game’s final touchdown. Wilson set the final at 40-0 as the reserves for both clubs finished the game.
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