EDINBORO, Pa. – Toward the beginning of the 2010 football season, Wilmington’s multi-sport star Sutton Whiting signed a letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Louisville.
During Satruday’s District 10 AA quarterfinal game against North East, Whiting, to use a baseball analogy, had a two-home-run game.
Whiting contributed to both Wilmington touchdowns – a 78-yard run and a 50-yard pass – and the Greyhounds’ (7-4) defense shut out the Grape Pickers’ (8-3) potent Wing-T offense 14-0 Saturday afternoon at General McLane High School’s Linden Field.
With the victory, the Greyhounds will face Sharon Area (9-2), a winner over Girard, next weekend in a District 10 AA semifinal at a site and time to be determined.
“We did a great job defensively,” said Wilmington head coach Terry Verelli. “If you can’t stop the power running stuff, you’ve got problems.”
In short, Wilmington put the Grape Pickers’ offense through the “proverbial” wine press. North East did move the ball on certain occasions against the Hounds’ Hammer defense, but it couldn’t crack the goal line.
Twice did the Grape Pickers’ move to or inside the Wilmington 20 yard line, and twice were the maroon and gold denied, turning the ball over on downs. The first such stand came with 1:11 left in the first quarter after NE had driven from its 44-yard line to the Hounds’ 20. The second came on NE’s initial second half possession (8:30 in the third period), driving from its own 30 to the WA 14.
“I don’t know that we did anything special,” Verelli said. “It was just having everybody (on defense) stay in their spot (and make plays).”
Wilmington also thwarted another North East drive with a Zack Llewellyn interception at the 18-yard line with :02 left in the third quarter. North East had gained possession at the Wilmington 41 following a Whiting fumble with 2:14 left in the third quarter.
But Whiting’s fumble was about the only miscue both he and the Hounds’ made this day.
Whiting got Wilmington on the scoreboard with :59 left in the first quarter following North East’s first turnover on downs. He took a power pitch designed to go right, but cut back left and had nothing but green space. He raced 78 yards, practically untouched.
Whiting’s final dagger came with 7:15 left in the fourth quarter. On a designed play, Whiting took a toss right, pulled up and hit junior Ryan Crawford for a 50-yard pass to push the advantage for the blue and gold to 14-0.
“It was a jet pass,” Whiting explained. “We’d run it once earlier in the season. I guess it worked.”
Whiting finished with 109 yards rushing on 13 carries and added 50 passing yards on his only attempt of the game. Quarterback Josh Tekac added a 2-of-3 passing effort for 16 yards and ran for 11 yards on eight attempts. Gunnar Donati added 23 yards on nine carries and Jake DeVido added five totes for 13 yards. Wilmington finished with 222 yards of offense (156 rushing) and six first downs.
North East was paced by Alex Svetz’ 22 rushes for 63 yards, giving him more than 1,000 yards rushing on the season. Tyler Johnson, a 1,070-yard rusher entering the game, was limited to 49 yards on 12 carries, and quarterback Curtis Bailey added 37 rushing yards and completed 4-of-15 passes for 45 yards.