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Wilmington Runs Over North East for 45-21 Win

Written by: on Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

SLIPPERY ROCK — Heading into the Thanksgiving weekend, the Wilmington football team is right where it wants to be.

After eliminating Fort LeBoeuf in the opening round of the District 10-AA playoffs in a game where the Greyhounds didn’t play their best game of the season, the ‘Hounds took their frustrations out in their semifinal matchup with North East.

Scoring early and often, the ‘Hounds had things pretty much their own way for most of the 48 minutes as they advanced to the D-10 title game with a convincing 45-21 win over the Grapepickers. Wilmington held a commanding 31-7 lead after three quarters before the two teams exchanged a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to set the final.

“I feel good, but I guess when you win, you always feel good,” said veteran Wilmington head coach Terry Verrelli. “Defensively, that was one of the best efforts we had all year. We thought it might be difficult for us to stop their power game, but coach Cooper did a great job of preparing the guys for what they (North East) do best. I was kind of surprised that we were able to stop them cold like we did in the running, but it was a great team effort.”

Verrelli felt that one of the big reasons for his team playing as well and physical as they did was being focused and ready to play the game. Headlining the play of the ‘Hound Hammer defense was tackle Sean Christofferson who was all over the N. Kerr Thompson Stadium turf, leading a unit that held the powerful North East running game to a meager 57 yards on 37 attempts.

“When they get fired up and are in the right mood, they play,” he said. “Tonight they were ready to go and now we have to keep playing the same way. I just reminded them that we can’t let down and tonight he (Christofferson) was just a dominating force.”

While Christofferson was leading the defensive unit, the ‘Hound offense was in good hands led by Sutton “Scooter” Whiting and Derrick Burns. Whiting showed a lot of speed while racking up 202 yards on just 10 carries good for a pair of touchdowns, while Burns displayed a lot of power along with some good speed of his own to also surpass the century mark with 139 yards while getting into the end zone twice.

“They are both great running backs and they can hurt you at any time,” praised Verrelli. “We try to move the ball around a little bit and involve all of them and tonight they all did a great job.”

With the win, the Greyhounds (11-1) will face backyard rival Sharon (10-2), a team they defeated 21-7 during the regular season.

“No they are not,” said Verrelli of Sharon not being a stranger to his club. “It will be the old Sharon-Wilmington rivalry. But make no mistake about it, I am happy for Sharon. That is a big victory for them to beat (General) McLane so we are going to look forward to next week.”

While Verrelli is looking forward to the neighborhood rival game next week, so are Whiting and Burns.

“It is going to be a tough game because that is our rival,” said Whiting. “There is going to be a lot of hype all week and we’ll be ready to go.”

Burns echoed Whiting’s thoughts about the rematch with Sharon.

“I am really excited for that game,” said Burns. “They are definitely our rival and we beat them 21-7 in the regular season so it is going to be a good game. I am just excited to have another chance to play them.”

In addition to the scoring by Whiting on runs of 44 and 59 yards and the two six-pointers by Burns on totes of 79 and one yard, other ‘Hounds getting into the scoring act were Chad Palladino on a 20-yard pass from quarterback Jake DeMedal, Bryce Wilson with a 42-yard field goal and six PATs, and Josh Phillian with a 28-yard TD reception from DeMedal.

Jim Bailey scored all three North East touchdowns on a 39-yard pass connection from brother Corey, a 92-yard kickoff return and a 43-yard run.

 

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