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EasternPAFootball.com - Your source for High School Football in Eastern PAEasternPAFootball.com - Your source for High School Football in Eastern PA
EasternPAFootball.com - Your source for High School Football in Eastern PAEasternPAFootball.com - Your source for High School Football in Eastern PA

PIAA “AA” State Title Game – Wilmington Preview

Written by: on Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

It’s been a little while since Wilmington was seen in the state finals.  In fact, the last time Wilmington played for a state title was in 1988, the inaugural year of the PIAA playoffs.

Now, the Hounds are back.  And they’ve built up quite an impressive resume to get to Hershey.  But if they want to win the golden football, they’ve got to overcome a Philadelphia juggernaut.

District 10 champion Wilmington (14-1) will meet District 12 champion West Catholic (14-1) in the “AA” state championship game Saturday at Hersheypark Stadium.  Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.

Defeating 14-time PCL champion West Catholic is sure a tall task, but, then again, Wilmington shouldn’t have any trouble warming up to the task.  The Hounds will a decided underdog for a second straight week.

Few, if any, had picked Wilmington to win in the semifinals against Aliquippa, a 13-time WPIAL champion which was making its sixth semifinals appearance and twice was crowned as PIAA champions.  But Wilmington downed the Quips in overtime, erasing the last four painful visits to the PIAA semifinals.

How painful was it?  Wilmington had lost those last four semifinal appearances to South Park (1997), West Allegheny (2000), Jeannette (2006), and Jeannette (2007) by a combined 139-42.  Jeannette had defeated the Hounds the last two years by a combined 69-28.

With this appearance in the state finals, Wilmington has become just the second PIAA rep to represent two different geographic districts in a state title game – Mount Carmel is the other.  The Hounds were a member of the WPIAL in 1988 when they lost to Bethlehem Catholic 26-11.

The blue and gold are also looking to avoid some negative history – that would be remaining winless in multiple state finals appearances.  If Wilmington were to claim the silver football a second time, it would join Bethlehem Liberty, Seton-LaSalle, Blackhawk, Woodland Hills, Sharon Area, South Williamsport, and Pottsville in a club that is anything but exclusive.

Wilmington, which runs a power Wing-T/Air Force set offense, relies on its ground game, which averages 253 yards per game.  The Hounds leader on the ground is junior speedster Derrick Burns, who has run for 1,484 yards and 20 touchdowns.  Burns is a 2,100-yard rusher for his career, and the brother of former Wilmington standout Chris Burns, who ran for 3,500 yards in 2006 and 2007.

In addition to Burns, Sutton Whiting (829 yards, 12 TD), Jake DeMedal (462, 6) Luke Yohman (382, 7), and Shane Wagner (198, 1) contribute to the rushing attack.

Shane Wagner doubles as the Hounds’ quarterback, and he’s been efficient, completing 91-of-173 passes for 1,390 yards and 21 touchdowns against two interceptions.  Wagner’s favorite targets are Matt Wagner (33 rec., 443 yards, 9 TD), Carson Sharbaugh (18, 308, 4), Dallas Hartman (12, 287, 6), and DeMedal (12, 220, 2).

Wilmington has set a school record for points in a season with 563, and averages 37.5 points per game.

The Hounds became a member of District 10 in the middle 1990s, and have won nine District 10 titles since.  Wilmington won a pair of WPIAL titles in 1987 and 1988.

Wilmington is coached by 30-year veteran Terry Verrelli, who has won 232 games in his career.  Verrelli is the second-winningest coach in Lawrence County history, trailing New Castle’s Phil Bridenbaugh, who won 265 games for the Hurricanes.

The Hounds are 57-9 since the start of 2004, and have won 41 of their last 45 games.

Will Wilmington make it 42 wins in 46 games this Saturday and win District 10’s sixth PIAA title?

Find out in a few days.

Wilmington individual statistics are according to Maxpreps.com and the Sharon Herald.

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Leave a Reply

4 Responses to “PIAA “AA” State Title Game – Wilmington Preview”

  1. Sudz says:

    What an amazing game wilmington got a long deserved championship title….. Way to Go !!!!!!

  2. Fred says:

    yeah gooooooo wilmington

  3. Fred says:

    hey go wilmington =)

  4. Sally says:


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