The Wolverines have had issues with keeping players on the field throughout the year due to lingering injuries. The same occurred Friday night as three starters were injured during a conference game match-up against favorited Derry Trojans.
Derry came into the evening with only loss to conference foe Elizabeth Forward. The Wolverines came into the game hoping to pick up their third win on the season in preparation of upcoming rival Riverside. Despite the Wolverines limiting the damage done in the passing game, the running game for the Trojans proved too much as 4 TDs were scored via the run as the Trojans cruised to a 35-7 victory.
The first quarter featured a great battle between both teams’ offenses and defenses. Both teams found the scoreboard in different ways – Derry with a 2 yard TD run by Colton Nemcheck with the PAT good by Will Huss, and Ellwood with a 71 yard TD pass by Ryan Gibbons to Luca Botti with the PAT good by Jonathan Jefferson. After one quarter, the score read 7-7.
As the second quarter progressed, injuries started piling up – Derry lost starting running back Onreey Stewart to what seemed like a lower leg injury and Ellwood lost starting running back / linebacker Rick Pitrelli to a hand injury (Both players did not return to the game). Because of this, both teams had to go to back up running backs which favored Derry who utilized Nemcheck as the running back. Nemcheck showed quick influence in the game as he added his second score in the game from 34 yards out, making the halftime score 14-7 with the PAT good by Huss.
The third quarter has been Ellwood’s best quarter; however, the Wolverines could not find anything successful on offense as the third quarter finished quickly, taking us to the fourth quarter still reading 14-7 in favor of the Trojans.
The fourth quarter for Derry has been great all year, especially in the turnover margin who added three more interceptions during the game to give them 15 interceptions on the season. The quarter started well for the Trojans who added two scores within the first three minutes – at 9:26, Shawn Broadway ran 7 yards out with the PAT good by Huss, and at 9:00, Justin Flack ran from 28 yards out with the PAT good by Huss.
At this point the game was all but over as the scoreboard read 28-7 in favor of the Trojans. Even more troubling for the Wolverines was not only the score, but injuries continuing to pile up. Two more starters were injured during the game – Brady Welsh who had a foot injury and did not return, and Shane Reisinger who also had a lower-leg injury. With the defense thinning out for the Wolverines, stopping the running game became an issue.
The final score of the evening came via the pass as Ryan Polinsky found a wide-open Justin Flack near the sidelines as the Trojans added 7 more points including the PAT by Huss to make the final score 35-7 in favor of Derry.
The Wolverines were outplayed in the running game while also losing three starters. The battle will continue to be to try and bring back starting players for the next week as Ellwood City will take on Riverside in the Riv-Ell rival game in week 8.
Stat leaders for the Wolverines were as follows:
- Passing: Ryan Gibbons – 10/24 1 TD 3 INTs 167 Yards Long of 71 Yards
- Rushing: Andrew O’Brien – 8 Carries for 44 Yards Long of 19 Yards
- Receiving: Luca Botti – 2 Receptions for 79 Yards 1 TD Long of 71 Yards
- Defense: Coulton Cunningham – 14 Tackles 6 Solo Tackles
You can check out game stats and season stats on our stats page!
Notes and Information
- FIRST DOWNS: 15 to 9 – Derry had no problem moving the ball as the Trojans had 15 total first downs throughout the evening.
- RUSHING: 249 to 66 – The Wolverines rush defense suffered another tough night, giving up 249 yards and an average 6.3 yards per play.
- PASSING: 167 – The Wolverines passing game continues to thrive as Gibbons now has racked up over 400 yards the past couple games, a bright sign for Ellwood in the future.
- THIRD DOWN: 3 of 12 – Another tough battle on third down for the Wolverines as they now are 13-77 on third down for the season, a conversion rate of 14%.
- Up next for the Wolverines is a stingy 2A Mid-Western Conference team in rival Riverside Panthers 5-2 (5-1). Riverside comes off a tough loss to MWC front team Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic as they continue to show good strides towards the playoffs.
- This game has been coined the “Riv-Ell” game, a rival that dates back far. Last year’s match-up ended with a controversy pass-interference by Ellwood which allowed the Panthers a second shot to win the game 14-13 in overtime to propel them to the playoffs.
- Week 8 against the Panthers is also Senior Night, which festivities will begin around 6:30PM. The W-Zone’s stream of the game will include the festivities, so be on the look out for an early broadcast – check out times and updates to the broadcast on our social media pages as well as our site!