The late Frank Cenca of the 1988 WHS Football team

The late Frank Cenca helped lead the 1988 WHS Football team past Lowell in a memorable victory. (file photo).

Since there’s no high school football season this fall, the Town Crier has been publishing archived game stories of old WHS Football games, matching up the current week’s game. Below is the week eight game from the Town Crier November 1st, 1989 edition, a 15-13 come from behind win over Lowell, which included Dick Hersom nailing a game winning field goal with 61 seconds left in the game.

With just 17 dressed players for most of the season, all weighing 220 pounds or less, the 1989 WHS Football team finished 5-5 on the season, which included a dramatic win over Lowell. In the history of the program, Wilmington and Lowell faced one another 15 times with Lowell winning 13 of those games, including outscoring the 'Cats 314-79 – the two wins included in 1980 and below, the 1989 contest.

Take away league championship seasons, and this win still is regarded as one of, if not the biggest win in program history because of the dramatics and because of all of the obstacles Wilmington endured.

The Wilmington High School football squad scored its' biggest victory in several seasons Saturday night when senior Dick Hersom booted a 33-yard field goal with 1:01 left in the game to give his team a thrilling 15-13 victory over Lowell High School Red Raiders at chilly Cawley Stadium.

It was the first time Wilmington defeated a Lowell High School team since 1980 and it was the fourth victory of the season for coach Ed Harrison's team against four losses.

Hersom, who wasn't even on the roster at the start of the season, was just one of many heroes for Wilmington against Lowell. Senior quarterback Frank Cenca, shifted back to his original position after spending much of the season at fullback, completed 13-of-22 passes for 161 yards.

One of those completions was a 30-yard touchdown toss to quarterback turned receiver Dennis Walsh. Cenca's other main target was Bob Voner, who made eight catches for 96 yards.

"We moved Cenca back to quarterback and then moved Walsh to wide receiver so we had him and Voner, and that Lowell game really got the two of them going," said Harrison. "That's what we tried to do offensively, get them the ball, open those guys up and some alley-ways because we struggled to run the ball."

Lowell had taken a 13-12 lead with 2:57 left in the game before Cenca rallied the Wildcats with four consecutive completions that advanced the ball to the Lowell 16 yard line.

It was at that point that Harrison elected to go for the field goal, and Hersom was perfect in sending slumping Lowell to its' fifth defeat of the season.

Senior co-captain Steve Killilea got the Wildcats on the board in the first half with a six-yard touchdown burst up the middle.

The shift of Cenca to quarterback has lifted the offense to the level of the defense, which has played solidly now for the better part of two seasons. It's no surprise that Cenca was also a leader of that defense from his linebacker position.

"The Lowell game where we won on the (field goal) was the memory that comes to mind where we truly believed in ourselves," said Voner.

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