Tigers fall short in playoff opener
WILMINGTON, Ohio — After losing its three previous football playoff contests, Wilmington High School secured its first-ever victory in the post-season Friday night with a 56-14 victory over visiting Marietta.
Wilmington (3-3) advances to play No. 1 seed Columbus DeSales Friday in a Region 11 second round matchup.
Marietta ends its season at 2-5.
Wilmington previous three trips to the playoffs ended in losses – 17-10 to Kings in 2003, 29-22 in overtime to Miami Trace in 2005 and 44-21 to Turpin in 2009.
Wilmington engineered a scoring drive on its opening series, and went on to score the first 24 points on the night. Killen pointed to the quick start as being the key.
Isaiah Rigling hooked up with quarterback Cameron McEvoy on a 43-yard pass play to put the ‘Cane on top on the opening drive, and Parker Henry booted the PAT through the uprights for a 7-0 lead.
Kendal France scored his second touchdown of the night in the next series, this time a three yard rushing TD and it was a 14-0 Hurricane advantage.
Marietta quarterback Reece Gerber was intercepted by Wilmington’s Josh Snell in the ensuing drive and Henry connected on a 24-yard field goal as Wilmington extended the lead to 17-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Thad Stuckey capped off another scoring drive for WHS early in the second quarter with an 18-yard touchdown and Henry PAT made it a 24-0 advantage.
Marietta came back with its first score of the night on a 32-yard run by Zach Bartlett and Dillon Meagle tacked on the PAT kick to cut the lead to 24-7.
Wilmington put together a long drive right before halftime, and Henry booted a 31-yard field goal at the 2:25 mark giving Wilmington a 27-7 halftime lead.
Marietta was unsuccessful in its opening drive of the second half and the Wilmington defense came up strong on a pass break up by Carter Huffman on fourth down. The Hurricane had excellent field position at the Marietta 26.
Josh Snell capped the drive with a touchdown at the 8:24 mark and Henry’s PAT kick made it 34-7.
Marietta came back on the ensuing kickoff with an electrifying 90-yard touchdown return by Kayden Durham and Meagle’s point after made it 34-14.
But those would be the final points the Tigers would score.
Wilmington had three touchdowns in the third quarter, including a pair by Josh Snell, and a 34-yard reception by Huffman from McEvoy, as the ‘Cane extended the lead to 49-14.
The final score of the night came with just under 4:00 to go as Thayne McCoy scored on a six-yard run. Henry’s kick closed down the scoring.