Junior McConahy

Renee Hartwell photo Wilmington's Junior McConahy swats the ball from Farrell quarterback Christian Hartley (2). 

September isn’t here yet, but Wilmington is playing like it’s December.

The Greyhounds continued their strong start last night with a 40-0 nonregion home win over Farrell.

“It’s a phenomenal win,” Wilmington junior running back Ethan Susen said. “The way we worked that game was just crazy.”

The ’Hounds (2-0), who beat Sharon, 26-14, last week, faced another tough test in the Steelers (0-2), the defending PIAA Class A champs. Wilmington, the PIAA Class 2A runner-up the past two seasons, aced this exam, too.

“Farrell is a good football team. Don’t be surprised if they go back to Hershey — that’s how good I think they can be and that’s the respect we have for that program,” Wilmington coach Brandon Phillian said. “It’s hard to put into words how special it was what our guys did tonight.

“These kids have committed through the winter, spring and summer for last Friday and this Friday — two huge games right off the bat. We got close last year and went 1-1, but the goal this year was for this team to create its own identity and do something we didn’t do last year. Now, we’re 2-0. The kids were fired up for this one.”

The ’Hounds Hammer defense was certainly ready to go. The unit yielded just 84 yards of total offense to Farrell. The Steelers managed only three first downs — none in the second half.

“I didn’t like our effort,” Farrell coach Anthony Pegues said. “We have to learn from this game. We knew, coming into this game, we’d learn a little bit about ourselves. We have to go back and fix some things and try to get better.”

Susen scored the first three Wilmington touchdowns. He had a 14-yard run on the team’s first possession of the tilt and hauled in a 10-yard scoring strike from Caelan Bender with 31.9 seconds left in the first half. That capped a pivotal scoring drive and gave the team a 14-0 halftime edge. Shane Cox made a huge play to sustain the drive when he wrestled a pass away from a Farrell defender for a 37-yard reception.

“Shane is a senior captain. He is a guy who has a big heart. Caelan threw the ball up there and gave him a chance. That may go down as the play of Shane’s career. That ball looked like the defender may have had that, but Shane showed a lot of heart coming up with it,” Phillian said. “The defining moment of that game was our offense working the ball downfield and scoring before halftime.”

Wilmington, which pushed its home victory streak to 15 games, dominated in the second half. Susen broke free for a 19-yard touchdown run on the squad’s first possession of the third quarter. The ’Hounds went up, 27-0, on Darren Miller’s 3-yard run up the middle. After the Steelers fumbled away the ball on the ensuing possession, Miller found the end zone again for a 33-0 edge early in the fourth. Gage DeCaprio capped the scoring with a late 14-yard TD run.

Susen, who had 110 yards on 15 totes, led Wilmington’s rushing attack, which racked up 307 yards. Miller finished with 76 yards and Bender added 54.

“Our line came off after halftime just explosive. That was a great second half by the line there,” Susen said. “Our run game this year is phenomenal. I know we haven’t passed much, but we’ll get to it throughout the season. Credit our run game to our line; they’ve been doing well up front. Our backs are able to find the holes and we’re going a great job with that.”


FARRELL     0     0     0     0     —     0

WILMINGTON     7     7     13     13     —     40

Scoring plays

WILMINGTON — Ethan Susen, 14-yard run (Daniel Hartwell kick).

WILMINGTON — Susen, 10-yard pass from Caelan Bender (Hartwell kick).

WILMINGTON — Susen, 19-yard run (Hartwell kick).

WILMINGTON — Darren Miller, 3-yard run (kick blocked).

WILMINGTON — Miller, 3-yard run (pass failed).

WILMINGTON — Gage DeCaprio, 14-yard run (Ethan Winters kick).

Joe Sager is a former full-time sports writer for the New Castle News and currently freelances for the News and other Western Pennsylvania newspapers.

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