While Wilmington wasn’t flawless for a full 48 minutes, the Greyhounds’ gridders’ great first half was more than enough.
Wilmington went for more than 400 total yards during the first 24 minutes en route to a 54-0 margin at intermission and an eventual 54-22 District 10, Region 1-2A home rout of Lakeview.
During Saturday’s matinee at Greyhounds Stadium, Luke Edwards and Cole McCallister each tallied a pair of TDs and Tuff McConahy tossed two touchdowns and ran for a third.
Wilmington’s wealth of weapons included Edwards (114 yards rushing, including 36- and 5-yard scores); McCallister, who collected McConahy’s scoring strikes of 18 and 32 yards, and McConahy, Gage DeCaprio, Ben Miller and Tyler Mikulin, who mustered respective 10-, 13-. 11- and 11-yard TD runs.
The reigning five-time District 10, Class 2A champion Greyhounds (3-0 Region 1, 3-1 overall) scored on all eight of their first-half possessions en route to 411 total yards on 30 first-half snaps.
Greyhounds coach Brandon Phillian related, “The challenge we issued to our team was, ‘It’s about us. We know there’s no such thing as a perfect football game, but how close, how near-perfect can we be in our play with our assignments on both sides of the ball, with limiting the penalties, the turnovers?’ I was very, very pleased with the first half of football that our team came out and played (Satur)day.
“That’s one of the things in our offense,” Phillian continued. “The more versatility we have, the more guys who are touching the ball, I think the harder it is (for opponents) to prepare for it. In our season thus far, Luke Edwards has been very consistent every, single game, and he’s off to a great start this season ... against Greenville, Gage DeCaprio had a big game ... now, to see our complement of weapons on display I think is a great thing for our football team as we move forward.”
Edwards, now a senior captain, embraces his leadership role.
“I’m just trying to do the best I can with it,” Edwards explained. “I remember when I was a freshman, guys like Cam Marett and Robert Pontius, I learned from them a lot. If I can have that same impact on the other guys (on the 2021 team), that’s just what I’m trying to do.”
“My (personal) numbers don’t matter if we don’t get the ‘W’ at the end of the game. Honestly, that’s what matters at the end of the day,” Edwards continued. “If we were an oh-and-eight team, no one would care about me or what I do on the offense. ... Coach (Sean) McConahy and Coach Phillian are doing a great job putting me in position to make plays, that’s all it is.”
Tuff McConahy completed all five of his pass attempts for 108 yards, three of which went to McCallister for 61 markers. They were competing for the starting signal-caller’s spot in preseason camp, and Phillian noted,
“To me, they’re such a great story. ... Cole’s out wide catching the ball from Tuff. Honestly? Even when they both were working at quarterback, there was such a chemistry there. I just have so much respect for the way both of those young men handled everything. and now, to see Tuff-to-Cole twice for touchdown passes is just awesome, and a real compliment to the two of them.”
Lakeview (0-3, 1-3) actually won the second half.
Sailors’ senior speedster Gavin Murdock manufactured a 44-yard scoring sprint and collaborated with Aiden Osborne on a 54-yard scoring strike. Later, 5-foot-5, 110-yard frosh QB Leyton Zacherl zipped a 49-yard TD toss to Sean Cole. Zacherl completed all three of his pass attempts for 73 yards for Sailors’ coach Bill Hickman. Murdock mustered 84 yards rushing and 68 passing despite constant pressure from the Hounds Hammer defense.
Wilmington’s win was its second straight, and Edwards assessed, “I think we’re trending upwards. That Week-2 bye (against Oil City) was not ideal, because I think we need to play — we’re a young team, we have a lot of underclassmen in the starting rotation. I just think the more we play, the better we’re gonna get. We’re just taking it week-by-week, practicing each week. I think, honestly, every day at practice, every game we’re getting better with more reps.
“ ... We’re just trying to continue the tradition, and win games one week at a time.” Edwards added.