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Wilmington Uses Late Spurt to Down Fort LeBoeuf, 32-21

Written by: on Sunday, November 15th, 2009

SLIPPERY ROCK — Any coach will tell you that it doesn’t matter where you are heading into the season. What really matters is where you end up at the end of the year.

Saturday night at Thompson Stadium, Wilmington adopted that philosophy for its District 10 Class AA quarterfinal matchup with Fort LeBoeuf.

Starting slow, the Greyhounds found themselves trailing 21-20 midway through the fourth quarter until the Hound Hammer woke up the team.

Coming up with some huge plays, the Greyhounds scored 14 points in a span of 14 seconds to defeat the Bison 32-21 to earn a berth in the D-10 semis.

The Greyhounds will return to Slippery Rock Saturday night to square off against the North East Grapepickers for a possible trip to the district title game. Kickoff for that encounter is set for 7 p.m.

“Yes we did,” replied Wilmington coach Terry Verrelli when asked about his troops making things interesting. “It wasn’t the best game we played, that is for sure. But I think they are a better team than many people give them credit for. You can‘t really tell on film sometimes when they are playing other teams, but I thought their line did a good job blowing us off the ball and we were having a difficult time stopping it.”

The Greyhounds built up a 20-7 lead five minutes into the third period, but the Bison turned an interception of a Jake DeMedal pass into a score before putting on a 60-yard, 11-play drive for the go-ahead touchdown at 21-20 LeBoeuf.

Not to be denied the win, the Greyhounds came right back to answer the pair of Bison scores when they took over on their own 47.

DeMedal hit Josh Phillian with a 38-yard pass, Sutton Whiting lost one and with a second-and-11 at the Bison 16, DeMedal called his own number on a quarterback draw for the score. The pass for two failed, but with 6:16 on the clock, Wilmington was back on top at 26-21.

With plenty of time left in the game, the Hound Hammer all but put the game away following the kickoff.

On the first play following the ensuing kickoff, Chad Palladino raked the ball loose from quarterback Nick Vasco and Wilmington defensive tackle Jason McFarland picked up the ball and returned it two yards for the game-winning score.

“They (the defense) were struggling a little bit and that is the area we have to go back and work on,” said Verrelli. “They hadn’t stopped them for most of the game, but they came on strong in the fourth quarter and sealed it (the win) up for us. I guess all that matters is the end result. We got the win and all we can do is go back and get better.”

DeMedal played an outstanding all-around game, using his legs, his arm and his instincts on defense to help the ‘Hounds to the win. DeMedal rushed for 71 yards and a pair of touchdowns, passed for another 87 yards and intercepted a pass on the first play of the game.

“Jake DeMedal is an athlete,” Verrelli said. “He is just doing a tremendous job for us and he showed that tonight. We haven’t run him that much this year although we planned on it. But tonight, I think he showed that he can get the job done.”

Key Offensive Performers:Jake DeMedal accumulated 159 yards total offense, 87 passing on a 6-for-10 effort and 72 rushing and two touchdowns on eight carries. Josh Phillian rushed 11 times for 76 yards and one score.

Key Defensive Performers: Jake DeMedal, Sutton Whiting and Derrick Burns with interceptions and Jason McFarland with a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Key Plays:Jake DeMedal to Chad Palladino 38-yard completion to set up a Wilmington touchdown late in the game.

The Game Was Over When:Chad Pallidino raked the ball loose from the LeBoeuf quarterback and Jason McFarland returned it two yards for a touchdown.

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