Wilmington High is ready for some football.
It has been three weeks since the Greyhounds played their last game, due to a pair of bye weeks in the District 10, Class 2A playoff schedule.
Wilmington will put its unbeaten 9-0 record against 6-5 Greenville when the two meet for the District 10, Class 2A championship at 7 p.m. Friday at Hickory High in Hermitage.
"These are definitely uncharted waters," second-year Wilmington coach Brandon Phillian said. "It allowed for our guys to rest up from the bumps and bruises that we see throughout the course of the regular season. But at the same time, we went three practice weeks without playing a game and that's something we're not used to.
"We took a few days off after our last game to give the guys an opportunity to charge and heal both mentally and physically," he added. "Now we've knocked the rust off and we're very excited and ready to go."
Wilmington's last game was a win in the regular-season finale over Hickory, 43-21 when the usually steady 'Hounds Hammer defense bent but didn't break.
"What's so good about playing a strong opponent is they they were able to find the end zone. We learned from that and were able to troubleshoot it," Phillian said.
With the exception of a Week-7 forfeit from Seneca, Greenville has not had a week off since mid-August. The Trojans triumphed over Northwestern 14-10 in last week's semifinals, erasing a 10-7, fourth-quarter deficit. Isaac Sasala scored on 28- and 1-yard runs and, defensively, the Trojans yielded just 183 yards (77 rushing).
In Week 6 in New Wilmington, the Greyhounds beat Greenville 45-0. Caelan Bender and Junior McConahy collaborated on 27- and 67-yard TD tosses and Shane Cox caught a 33-yarder from Bender and also ran 5 yards for a score.
In the win at Hickory, Wilmington was buoyed by the return of junior running back Ethan Susen. Susen had missed the three previous games with a knee injury.
"We're as healthy as we've been since Week 1," Phillian said. "With the exception of defensive end Colton Huston, we're a full go for this game."
Greyhounds' rusher Darren Miller, who stepped up during Susen's absence, is on the verge of crossing the 1,000-yard rushing plateau.
"We've definitely got more than one great running back," Phillian said. "It's a great problem to have."
In three prior D-10 title tilts against Greenville, Wilmington won in 2017 (31-13, avenging a 14-6 regular-season loss), 2001 (28-7) and 2000 (16-7). In last season's semifinals, Wilmington prevailed 44-13.
The Trojans were champions four times in the 1990s ('99, '97, '96, '93), but have been blanked in the program's last four appearances (in addition to Wilmington, Hickory, 12-7, in 2014).
Since leaving the WPIAL and becoming a D-10 member in 1994, Wilmington will be playing in the program's 18th title game. The 'Hounds are 13-4 in those contests.
Herald assistant sports editor Ed Farrell contributed to this story.