BURLINGTON—The Wilmington Wildcats C Team (7-0) took on their final divisional opponent on Saturday night and came away with a 30-0 victory over the Burlington Patriots.
With their seventh victory, only Reading next week stands in the way of an undefeated season. The Wilmington defense pitched its sixth shutout of the season and the Wildcats have outscored their opponents 170-6 for the season. The Wildcat ground attack accounted for 290 rushing yards on 29 running plays for an astounding average of 10 yards-per-play.
Much of the credit needs to go to the offensive line; center Kyle Kenyon, guards Mark Companeschi, Blake Hiltz and Kyle Bolis, tackles Pat McAndrew, Tommy Strow and Colin Rooney and tight ends Drew Brandenburg and Joey Dumoulin.
After winning the coin toss, the Wilmington offense took the field on their own 47 yard line and had a methodical six play, 53 yard drive that culminated with a nine yard touchdown run by John Kenney. For the game, Kenney had seven carries for 110 yards giving him 754 rushing yards through seven games to go along with 13 rushing touchdowns. The kick was no good so the Wildcats took a 6-0 lead.
The Wildcat defense took the field and held Burlington to a four play drive. Defensive end Frankie Irizarry just missed on a sack but made up for it by recovering a fumble caused by corner Mikey Daley on 4th down.
The defensive line was solid for Wilmington as defensive end Andrew Brandenburg recorded four tackles, including two tackles for loss, nose tackle Peter Marino recorded two tackles and defensive tackles Kyle Penney, Brett Chisholm and Kenyon combined for four tackles and lots of pressure in the Burlington backfield.
On their second possession, the Wildcats struck quick with Kenney sprinting 50 yards into the end zone for an apparent touchdown. Unfortunately, the Wildcats were flagged for their lone penalty for the game (holding) and that negated the touchdown and moved the Wildcats back to their 40 yard line.
Whereas many teams would let something like that effect their play, that wasn’t the case for Wilmington as fullback Kyle Penney ran 11 yards through the heart of the Burlington defense and Kenney followed that up with a 49 yard touchdown run. The touchdown gave Wilmington a 12-0 lead.
After holding the Burlington offense in check yet again, the Wildcat offense scored on their first play of their third drive, a 41 yard run up the middle by Kyle Penney. Penney, a sledgehammer of a blocker at fullback has also accounted for 283 yards on 37 carries this year for an astounding 7.7 yards-per-carry average, an incredible average for a fullback. He’s also contributed with three rushing touchdowns and leads the team with three receptions on the season. His score put Wilmington up 18-0 late in the first half.
On their next series, Burlington again came up short, unable to move the ball against the Wilmington defense. The heart of the Wildcat defense is the play of linebackers Blake Hiltz, Braden Hiltz, and Joey Dumoulin. For the season, Blake leads the team with 33.5 tackles to go along with a sack, an interception and seven tackles-for-loss.
Braden is second on the team in tackles with 25.5 to go along with a sack and two-tackles-for-loss. Joey Dumoulin rounds out the line backing core with 24 tackles to go along with a sack, an interception and five tackles-for-loss.
Wilmington came out for their final series slinging with quarterback Andrew Sullivan completing a quick screen pass to slot back Justin Fraser. The drive went for eight plays and 23 yards before a turnover stalled the drive. The Wildcats went into halftime with an 18-0 lead.
Burlington received the ball to start the second half and with linemen Nolan Fitzgerald and Michael Smolinsky in the game, Burlington was held yet again without a first down and turned the ball back over to the Wilmington offense. Tim Rivers came into the game at quarterback and led the team on a clock-chewing drive of 10 plays covering 54 yards and culminating with Rivers dialing up his own number on a 10 yard touchdown run.
The key to Rivers run though was an excellent downfield block by wide receiver Ryan “RB Smooth” who has become one of the Wildcats best downfield blocker. The play was designed to be a pass to Brewer but as soon as Rivers left the pocket, Brewer doubled back up the field and laid a perfect block on the Burlington defensive back, allowing Rivers to waltz into the end zone.
The long run on the series though was actually an 11 yard run by full back Peter Marino. Marino played the game on Saturday with a lot of emotion as his cousin Jake was on the field for the Burlington squad. Family bragging rights and an extra turkey leg on Thanksgiving were at stake in this annual family battle. The touchdown gave Wilmington a 24-0 lead.
Burlington had no choice but to start throwing the ball to try and make up the large deficit but the Wildcat defensive backs made big plays in the Wilmington secondary. Corner backs Michael Ducharme and Mikey Daley and safety Tim Rivers combined for four tackles and a number of pass break-ups for the Wilmington defense.
Wilmington failed to score on their next possession (although they scored touchdowns on four of their first six possessions) but came out for one last offensive series late in the game and running back Braden Hiltz capped off a brilliant defensive performance with a 38 yard touchdown run, his fourth touchdown of the season. The score gave Wilmington a 30-0 lead and that was the final score of the game.
Next up for the Wildcats is a trip to Reading High School on Sunday to take on Reading in what will hopefully be an eighth regular season win for the Wilmington C team. Game time is 11:00 a.m. in Reading so come on out and support your Wildcat Pop Warner C team.