Senior quarterback Brandon Arehart threw for a career-best 360 yards and three touchdowns, but the Wilmington defense allowed 42 unanswered points in the 48-27 loss to Olivet Saturday at Williams Stadium.
"I don't think we prepared mentally the way we needed to," said head coach Stacey Hairston. "The guys are learning how to win, and we have to prepare for each opponent. Not to take anything from Olivet, they took advantage of our weaknesses."
The 27 points were the most points scored since the Quakers tallied 28 points against Marietta in 2010.
Things started out great for WC as Arehart capped a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to senior Stephen Donoghue (Liberty Township, OH/Lakota East) less than three minutes into the game.
After Olivet evened the game with a little more than seven minutes left in the first quarter, Wilmington looked to be on its way to reclaiming the victory. However, a fumble by freshman Zak Kruer (Miamisburg, OH/Miamisburg) on the five yards from paydirt halted the momentum, and the Comets drove 95 yards for the go-ahead score.
On the 17-play drive, Olivet converted three third downs. The Comets converted five of their first six third-down conversions.
"On the money downs, we have to step up, make plays and get off the field," said Hairston. "We have to learn how to focus and finish drives."
As the Comets were racking up points, Wilmington had three very good opportunities to stem the tide. However, they just couldn't completely execute.
Arehart (Wilmington, OH/Wilmington) finished 18-of-34 for 360 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Senior Kyle Akers (Sabina, OH/East Clinton) hauled in a career-high 161 yards on five catches with two touchdowns. Donoghue also hauled in a career-best 134 yards on five catches with one score.
Kruer ran for 45 yards and his first career score on 12 carries.
Sophomore Tarrell Starckey (Richmond, VA/Highland Springs) led the team with 12 tackles, 2.5 for loss and one quarterback hurry. However, Hairston knows he has only scratched the surface of his ability.
"This is his camp," Hairston said of Starckey, who missed all of camp. "He is so athletic, but his missed the extra coaching on technique. He showed he can make plays. He is still learning proper technique and jelling with the other players. There in no doubt that he is one of the best in the nation."
Junior Eric Watts (Zanesville, OH/Zanesville) and senior Aaron Day (Cincinnati, OH/Walnut Hills) finished with eight tackles each. Watts also added a fumble recovery.
Wilmington (0-1) will have a bye week before starting Ohio Athletic Conference action by traveling to Otterbein September 21st.