Wilmington cruises past Clarion
Written by: Shane Lux on Sunday, November 26th, 2017
Wilmington sent two rushes over the century mark and limited Clarion to just 118 yards of total offense as the ‘Hounds found themselves back in PIAA Class AA semifinals for the second straight season.
“Our kids did a great job; we were solid on the offensive line today,” said Willmington head coach Terry Verrelli.
Jack Patton and Bryson Verrelli rushed for 219 and 142 yards respectively while Robert Pontius rushed for two scores.
“It’s great having multiple kids run the ball because the defense can’t key on just one guy, said Verrelli. “Bryson (Verrelli), Jack (Patton), did a great job hitting the holes hard and finished those runs.”
A special teams blunder by Clarion helped open the scoring as a bad punt snap led to Wilmington recovering at the Bobcats 1-yard line where one play later Pontius scored.
Clarion was unphased, Spencer Miller and Thomas Wurster connected for an 84-yard touchdown pass that pulled them to within a point at 7-6.
“I am going to give their line credit. We tried to make some adjustments here and there. I think the difference we couldn’t get the line of scrimmage. That is where they won it. Plus they are obviously a great football team,” said Clarion head coach Larry Wiser.
“We just couldn’t maintain some consistency; we missed some opportunities. Missed a block here and so forth like that. That happens against teams of this quality. You have to play everything to the best to win games like that.”
From there Wilmington began to control the line of scrimmage and with it, the game.
Verrelli exploded up the middle for an 85-yard touchdown run that extended the ‘Hounds lead for good at the 8:59 mark of the second quarter. The score came two plays after Clarion was forced to punt as they squandered Logan Minich’s interception of a Pontius pass at their 46-yard line.
“They both played a heck of a game. Logan’s one-handed interception was big, and Sam, who didn’t get a lot of reps this week defensively, came in when we lost Sterling there. He did a great job filling in at strong safety. You are patching here and patching there in some situations, and those kids stepped up really well,” said Wiser.
The Marett boys of Colton and Cameron hooked up for a 7-yard touchdown on a halfback option following a 5-play 74-yard drive.
Jacob Winters then connected on a 42-yard field goal capping an 8-play 38-yard drive as the ‘Hounds took a 23-6 lead into the locker room.
Wilmington extended their lead to 20 following Winter’s 33-yard goal on the opening possession of the second-half that saw the ‘Hounds churn out 51 yards in 10 plays.
It was safe to say the ‘Hounds Hammer” defense was again on point in the second-half as they held Clarion to just five first downs, three of which were via penalty. The Bobcats gained only 19 yards of total offense in the final two quarters.
“Defensively we had a great gameplan and the kids executed,” said Verrelli. “We had the one blunder on that pass, but outside of that I was very pleased.”
All but ending the game, Pontius scored on his second 1-yard of the afternoon with 39 seconds left in the quarter following the 11-play 87-yard drive.
Clarion had one final chance to reach the scoreboard again when Sam Minich intercepted a Pontius pass at the ‘Hounds 30-yard line with 9:22 remaining.
After reaching the 10-yard line, Miller was sacked for a 12-yard loss by Colton Richards on a 4th-and-6.
A lot of it depends on the chemistry. I have had a lot of football teams who haven’t done this. I have had some average teams do really well. It depends on wanting to come out here and play with each other, support each other. I think these kids did that,” said Wiser.
From there Wilmington ran out the clock and sealed their date with Washington in the PIAA semifinals.
The Prexies ousted defending state champion Steel Valley 37-10 in the WPIAL Title Game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm Friday at Slippery Rock University.
“Very excited to be back in the Western Finals,” Verrelli said. “But once again, we’re just focused on being 1-0.
Stats courtesy of Ryan Briggs: @professorbriggs
Wilmington 33 Clarion 6
Score by Quarters
Wilmington – 7 16 10 0 – 33
Clarion – 6 0 0 0 – 6
W – Robert Pontius 1 yd run (Jacob Winters pat), 10:33
C – Thomas Wurster 84 yd pass from Spencer Miller (kick failed), 10:15
W – Bryson Verrelli 85 yd run (Winters pat), 8:59
W – Colton Marett 7 yd pass from Cameron Marett (kick blocked), 6:06
W – Winters 42 yd field goal, 0:22
W – Winters 33 yd field goal, 7:58
W – Pontius 1 yd run (Winters pat), 0:39
Rushing: Wilmington – Jack Patton 14-219; Bryson Verrelli 16-142; Cameron Marett 11-55; Robert Pontius 9-42; Zac Commesso 4-15; Team 1-0. Totals: 55-473. Clarion – Colton Rapp 12-36; Sam Minich 6-29; Brenden Zerfoss 3-4; Keeven Weaver 1-3; Team 1-(-24), Spencer Miller 5-(-24). Totals: 28-24.
Receiving: Wilmington – Verrelli 1-30; Colton Marett 1-7; Patton 1-4. Clarion – Zerfoss 2-10; Weaver 2-0; Wurster 1-84.
Passing: Wilmington – Pontius 2-for-5, 34 yards, 2 interceptions; Cameron Marett 1-for-1, 7 yards, 1 touchdown. Clarion – Miller 5-for-14, 94 yards, 1 touchdown.
Interceptions: Clarion – 2 – Logan Minich, Sam Minich.
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