Wilmington football preview

Has there been a more consistent winner than Wilmington over the last nine seasons? You may find it difficult to find one. The Greyhounds have rolled up 96 victories during that stretch including a thrilling 35-24 double overtime victory over West Catholic in the 2008 PIAA Class AA State Championship. Since 2005, the ‘Hounds have participated in 29 post-season contests.

Coach Terry Verrelli’s group got by Greenville (10-9) in six sessions in the District Semifinal last fall. Wilmington squared off against Hickory, a team who they defeated in week three (35-28). However, in the District title game, the Hornets knocked off the Greyhounds 39-7 to advance to their second straight title conquest. Wilmington fumbled the ball away twice and allowed Hickory to gain 246 yards on 30 carries.

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Once again, Wilmington has a strong schedule to begin the season. In week one, they’ll travel to West Middlesex for Coach Ed Roberson’s first game. Then, the Greyhounds will return home to take on Grove City and then make the trek back to Hermitage to face the Hornets of Hickory on September 13.

2013 Wilmington Greyhounds’ Football Preview
By Vince Pellegrini (@Vince_MYVS)
Head Coach: Terry Verrelli, 35th season (271-113-3)
2012 Record: 9-3 (6-1), District 10 Region 3 (AA)
2012 Post-Season Finish: Lost in District 10 Class AA Championship to Hickory, 39-7, on November 24.

2012 Team Statistics
Points Scored: 26.9 (21st in Area)
Points Allowed: 13.3 (3rd in Area)

Returning Leaders
Passing: Cory Llewellyn – 594 yards, 48.0 Comp % (36-75), 7 TDs

2013 Schedule
Aug. 30 – at West Middlesex, 7 PM
Sept. 6 – Grove City, 7 PM
Sept. 13 – at Hickory, 7 PM
Sept. 20 – Titusville, 7 PM
Sept. 27 – at Saegertown, 7 PM
Oct. 4 – Reynolds, 7 PM
Oct. 11 – Sharpsville, 7 PM
Oct. 18 – at Sharon, 7 PM
Oct. 25 – at Greenville, 7 PM
Nov. 1 – Farrell, 7 PM

Offensive Strength: Junior Cory Llewellyn returns for his second season as the Greyhounds’ starting signal caller. Llewellyn, last fall, threw for 594 yards on 36 of 75 passing (48.0%).

Offensive Weakness: The offensive line lost a bunch of experience this past spring when John Yohman, Zack McCluskey, Xavier Coulter, Keith Fulkman, and Chris Welch all graduated.

Defensive Strength: Wilmington’s defense has finished in the top 7 among area schools in points allowed for the past eight years (2012: 3rd 13.3; 2011: 3rd 10.6; 2010: 6th 10.7; 2009: 4th 10.2; 2008: 5th 11.1; 2007: 7th 12.0; 2006: 3rd 8.1; 2005: 3rd 10.5).

Defensive Weakness: Just like their offensive line, the defensive front will need to be revamped as well.

Storylines Facing the Greyhounds
1. Donati Leaves Behind Big Shoes. Tyler Donati ran for 1,665 yards on 208 carries (8.0 ypc) in 2012 after rushing the ball only 48 times (for 464 yards) in 2011 backing up Ryan Crawford, Anthony Derrick, and Gunnar Donati. Who will step into the limelight and pick up the carries which went to Tyler a year ago? Josiah Bloise looked impressive when he had the ball in his hands last season.

2. Conference Champs, Again. For the seventh time in the past eight years, Wilmington won at least a share of the region championship. Since 2004, the ‘Hounds have compiled a 50-9 record in conference play.

3. Offense: Not to be outdone. The Greyhounds’ offense has averaged approximately 27 points per game in each of the last seven seasons.

Did you know?It is quite possible that Terry Verrelli could coach his 400th career game this season. If the Greyhounds advance to the District title game, he would do just that.

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