WILMINGTON – There was a lot going on with the Wilmington College football team this week, and Saturday's game with Muskingum can allow the Fightin' Quakers to get back to the goal at hand – winning football games.
Offensive coordinator Jay Niswonger has taken over for Ken Minor, who resigned this week, and WC is ready to get the focus back on the gridiron. Niswonger promises that the team will be more aggressive offensively, and that his focus won't be solely on the offense.
"I know our defensive schemes," said Niswonger. "If we need to make adjustments, we will make them."
Muskingum presents a challenge in the trenches as they employ multiple fronts. Unlike the previous teams, who either had odd or even fronts, the Muskies will play both even and odd – with variations to each. The addition of four-year starters along the front brings experience that the Wilmington quintet doesn't have. Wilmington's offensive line features four sophomores and a freshman.
However, the Quakers did unveil another aspect to its offense that Muskingum has to prepare for as WC used the option with some degree of success. Wilmington went over 100 yards rushing for the first time this season. In fact, the 110 yards gained nearly tripled the Quakers total output coming into the game.
Quarterback Brandon Arehart led the team with 44 yards, most coming on his 29-yard scamper down the sidelines. Running back March Jones, in his first start, added 33 yards on 11 carries. The 33 yards marked the most by any running back this season.
"We are still trying to get better," said Niswonger. "Right now we are not playing up to my standards. We have a lot more we can show, but we have to practice what we do best right now."
Saturday's game features the two teams in the Ohio Athletic Conference that are scoring the least amount of points and allowing the most points. The Muskies are ninth with 9.7 points, while Wilmington is scoring just 8.7 points per game. Defensively, Muskingum is allowing 34.7 points, but is coming off a 13-7 loss to #15 Baldwin-Wallace. The Quakers have yielded 147 points for an average of 49.0 points per game.
While they seem to be struggling, a deeper look into the Muskingum schedule may show details that express a different story. After an opening season loss to unbeaten Waynesburg (#27 in latest poll), they opened OAC season with #1 Mount Union and #15 BW.
Defensively, the Wilmington defense has four players ranked in the top eight in OAC tackling. Sophomore Gunner Calhoun is fourth with 10.7 tackles, while junior Trevor Hooker is fifth with 8.3. Sophomore Joe Joe Knecht and sophomore Devon Burton are tied for eight with 8.0 takedowns.