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Seneca can’t handle Wilmington

WILMINGTON – Seneca scored on its first possession and advanced 85 yards on its last, but it was not enough in a 14-6 loss to Wilmington on Friday night.

Other than those two drives, the Fighting Irish had just two first downs. Wilmington totaled 17 first downs to Seneca’s seven as the Wildcats took control of the Interstate Eight Conference Small race.

Wilmington forced Seneca to go three-and-out on the opening series of the second half. Austin Headrick returned Austin Applebee’s punt 20 yards to the Irish 30, and the Wildcats needed six plays to score. Alex Ziomie did so on a 6-yard run.

Following turnovers by both teams, the Irish had their next two possessions produce a net total of negative-3 yards. Both resulting Wilmington series also ended in punts, though, with the second being downed at the Irish 1, where they took over with 3:37 to play.

Seneca’s passing game, which had to that point gone 1-for-7 for negative-4 yards and two interceptions, then came to life.

After Tommy Lovett rushed for one first down and Bo Taylor for another, Taylor passed to Applebee for gains of 33 and 17 yards on successive plays. A Lovett run of 8 yards got Seneca as far as the 14 with under a minute to play.

From there, the Wildcats held. An illegal receiver downfield penalty on second down cost them 5 yards, and Taylor was sacked by Austin Skoryi and Trevor Delehanty on third down for a loss of 11. Taylor’s incomplete fourth-down pass attempt sealed the result.

Seneca kicked off to begin the game, and nobody initially located Applebee’s short blooper. A pile formed where it ended up, and Seneca’s Joey Rasmsussen secured the ball underneath it. Five plays later, Lovett scored on a 4-yard run, though the kick was blocked.

The Wildcats moved the ball with ease on their first two series.

The first produced 53 yards and four first downs on 11 rushing plays. Wilmington then tried successive passes on which Mason Southall was sacked by Brad Wyss and Justin Ralls, respectively, for a turnover on downs.

Wilmington’s second drive had no such ending. It went 82 yards in nine plays, with Southall scoring on a 24-yard bootleg to the left.

A Justin Kupla kick gave the Wildcats a 7-6 lead with 8:36 left in the first half.

Skoryi intercepted Taylor to truncate Seneca’s next drive and give the Wildcats the ball at the Irish 23, but the Irish defense held.

Neither team got within 41 yards of the end zone the rest of the half.

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