8/24 7:15 H
Week #9 vs.Coal
Wildcats Capture I-8 Title
Wilmington (Becker Field) - Things were looking a bit strange for the fans of Wilmington by halftime on Friday night, there beloved Wildcats who had been averaging 45 points a game, were down 4-0.
Coal City fans on the other hand were reveling in the fact that not only had they not let the vaunted Wildcat offense score, but they had also managed to ring up 2 safeties & allow only 2 Wildcat first downs by halftime.
Coal City's defense was defiantly sticking true to form, as they had only allowed 13 points through the entire season so far, while completely shutting down 6 of the 8 teams they faced.
Defensively Matt Watson (LB 6'3 240 sr.) was a big reason, the Coalers were able to stop up the Wildcat attack in the first half. Getting into the backfield several times or attributing on stopping a rush at the line of scrimmage.
Watson helped put the Coalers up by 4 as he brought down Tanner Roark (QB 6'2 190 sr.) with 9 minutes left in the half. Coal City's first safety was the result of a bad snap on a Wilmington punt that sailed out of the endzone in the first quarter.
While Wilmington's defense was just as punishing as Coal City's, it would be the Wildcats who'd win the battle on defense in the second half.
Set up with good field position after a good kick return by Ryan Jones (RB/DB 5'8 141 jr.) & a Coal City penalty. Roark would hit a wide open Adam Kruchten (TE 6'1 178 sr.) in stride for a 56 yard touchdown on the first play of the second half.
Wilmington pulled away even more to start off the fourth as Roark would cap of a drive that started at mid field with a 1 yard plunge up the middle for the Cats' second score of the night. Putting them up 13-4 with just over 11 minutes left in the game.
The Wilmington defense never let up the whole game. Keeping the Coalers on their heels & punting mostly within their own territory the whole night. Giving up only 62 yards of offense.
Whether or not the two way play of the Coalers 30 man squad started to catch up with them in the second half, or Wilmington just found it's footing. Running back Tony Vercelli (6' 217 sr.) had almost all of his 150 yards in the second half. As were most of Wilmington's 292 offensive yards.
Wilmington's third score came on another Roark dive up the middle with 5:33 left in the game to seal up Wilmington's third straight Interstate Eight Conference Title and spoil Coal City's hopes of beating the Wildcats for the first time since 1998.
by Vincent Johnson
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