Sussex County Delaware

High School Football
Game of the Week
The Sussex County High School Football Game of the Week

Game of the Week ...

Nov. 3, 2000:
Mistakes Hurt SC
in Defeat at CR

Story | Statistics | Photos | Quotes | Notes
Video Clips | Other Games of the Week

Game of the Week Story ...

Sussex Central fullback Teddy Thompson

Photos: Sussex Central fullback Teddy Thompson (35, above) runs with a pass in the fourth quarter. Below, Blake Hershelman (19) on a 61-yard run and defensive end Jesse Makowski (44) wraps up CR's Charles Clark.

GEORGETOWN -- For the second year in a row, the Sussex Central High School football team finds itself in a sudden-death situation.

With turnovers and penalties killing promising drives in a 21-10 loss at Caesar Rodney on Friday, Nov. 3, 2000, the Golden Knights must most likely win their final two games to have a shot at the school's first Division I state tournament berth.

Sussex Central quarterback Blake HershelmanThe Knights imploded in the Henlopen Conference Northern Division contest at CR with four turnovers including a fumble at the CR 20 and an interception that CR returned for a touchdown as part of a 14-point spurt in a 23-second span just before halftime.

Those miscues cost the Knights, who actually outgained the Riders in total yards, dearly in their first loss of the season.

Now the Knights, at 3-1 in the North and 7-1 overall, must beat Sussex Tech on Friday, Nov. 10, and Christiana in a non-conference game on Nov. 17, to still have a shot at the Henlopen North title and automatic tournament berth or an at-large berth.

Sussex Central could still win the North if it beats Tech and Dover beats CR on Nov. 17. If that were to happen, the Knights, CR and Dover would all be tied with 4-1 records and the title would be decided by a point differential against division opponents.

If CR beats Dover and claims the title outright, the Knights would probably need wins against Tech and Christiana to make the tournament as an at-large entry. Last year, after a 48-0 loss to CR, the Knights lost a tournament bid with a 13-12 defeat at St. Mark's that ended their season at 8-2.

That certainly wasn't the kind of deja vu Sussex Central had in mind when it traveled to CR (7-1, 4-0) Friday night as the second-ranked team in the state. And early on against the fourth-ranked Riders, it looked like this would be the Knights' night.

First, the Knights converted a fumble recovery by lineman Orlando Short at the CR 15 into a 29-yard field goal by kicker Justin Battaglino for a 3-0 first quarter lead, and after a CR punt, quarterback Blake Hershelman bootlegged 61 yards for a first down at the CR 33 with five minutes left in the period.

Sussex Central defensive end Jesse MakowskiBut just as suddenly, the wheels came off, as the Knights lost five yards on three plays, punted, and saw the Riders march 80 yards in 13 plays to take a 7-3 second quarter lead on a 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Sawyer to wide receiver Ron Rhoades.

The Knights never seemed to fully recover from that even though they outgained CR 270 total yards to 237. Even after lineman Jake Booth recovered another CR fumble at the SC 32, the Knights couldn't capitalize as they turned the ball over on an interception by the Riders' Matt Donahue at the Knight 36.

The Riders did capitalize, however, and virtually sealed the outcome with 14 points in the closing seconds of the first half.

First, the Riders drove the 36 yards after Donahue's fumble recovery in 10 plays with running back Charles Clark going over from 2 yards out for a 14-3 lead with 30.8 seconds left in the half.

And then, CR's Scott Watras intercepted an attempted screen pass by Hershelman and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown with 7.5 seconds left and a 21-3 CR lead.

The final blow to the Knights' chances occurred on their first drive of the second half. The Knights stormed from their own 15 to the CR 20 in just five plays on their first possession of the second half only to fumble away any chance at a comeback on an attempted reverse.

After that, CR ate up the rest of the third quarter and the Knights were unable to score until the game's final seconds on a 55-yard touchdown play on a screen pass from Hershelman to running back Yoree Washington.

Scoring Summary ...


First Quarter:

7:30 -- SUSSEX CENTRAL (3-0 Sussex Central)
Justin Battaglino 29 Field Goal

Second Quarter:

9:18 -- CAESAR RODNEY (7-3 Caesar Rodney)
Ron Rhoades 26 pass from Tom Sawyer
PAT: Meagan Collins kick

30.8 -- CAESAR RODNEY (14-3 Caesar Rodney)
Charles Clark 2 run
PAT: Meagan Collins kick

:07.5 -- CAESAR RODNEY (21-3 Caesar Rodney)
Scott Watras 45 interception return
PAT: Meagan Collins kick

Fourth Quarter:

13.0 -- SUSSEX CENTRAL (21-10 Caesar Rodney)
Yoree Washington 55 pass from Blake Hershelman
PAT: Justin Battaglino kick


Total Offense -- Caesar Rodney 53-237; Sussex Central 47-270.

Rushing -- Caesar Rodney 49-198, Sussex Central 38-202.

Passing -- Caesar Rodney 2-5-0, 39, 1 TD, Sussex Central 2-9-3, 68, 1 TD.

First Downs -- Caesar Rodney 13, Sussex Central 12.

Fumbles/Lost -- Caesar Rodney 4/2, Sussex Central 2/1.

Penalties/Yards -- Caesar Rodney 3/25, Sussex Central 3-25.


Caesar Rodney -- Stephon Beckham 5-83, Charles Clark 21-80, Carl Dyton 12-26, Tom Sawyer 9-1, Ron Rhoades 1-5, Mike Henry 1-3.

Sussex Central -- George Davis 20-86, Blake Hershelman 6-76, Yoree Washington 10-29, Teddy Thompson 2-11.


Caesar Rodney -- Tom Sawyer 2-4-0, 39, 1 TD; Ron Rhoades 0-1-0.

Sussex Central -- Blake Hershelman 2-9-3, 68, 1 TD.


Caesar Rodney -- Ron Rhoades 1-26, Justin Stickland 1-13.

Sussex Central -- Yoree Washington 1-55, Teddy Thompson 1-13.

Game of the Week Photos ...

Sussex Central linebacker Blake Hershelman

Sussex Central running back George Davis
Sussex Central defensive end Orlando Farrow

Photos: Sussex Central linebacker Blake Hershelman (above) pops CR's Stephon Beckham for a fumble recovered by lineman Jake Booth (50), while Knight running back George Davis rips off a 24-yard run (left photo) and SC defensive end Orlando Farrow sacks CR quarterback Tom Sawyer.

Game of the Week Quotes ...

Sussex Central head coach John Wells on the loss:

"Yeah, we made too many mistakes. Too many penalties. Too batted balls go the other way for interceptions. The boys played hard in the second half. The defense, I thought, was phenomenal. We were driving the ball, then fumbled the ball in the red zone, three picks, two of the picks were tipped passes."

Wells on the Knights' playoff chances:

"I think we have to win both (Sussex Tech on Nov. 10 and Christiana on Nov. 17). It's pretty much obvious. I'd say we need to win both to get in."

Game of the Week Notes ...
  • If you're wondering about the point differential situation, Caesar Rodney has the lead in that tie-breaker, as well. The Riders have outscored their Northern Division opponents by 37 more points than Sussex Central has and 58 points more than Dover has. What that means is in order for Sussex Central to win the tie-breaker should the title come down to that, the Knights would have to beat Sussex Tech handily on Nov. 10 and hope that Dover beats CR handily on Nov. 17.

  • The Golden Knights played the game without starting offensive tackle Colby Steele, who watched the game from the sidelines in street clothes and a walking cast. Jerry Miller, a 6-4, 310-pound junior, replaced Steele.

  • The Knights, long known as a power running team, have fallen into a spell of being unable to cap off those long drives or capitalize on opportunities inside the red zone. Against CR, the Knights were in Rider territory five times and in the red zone twice and came away with only 3 points. Their lone touchdown came at the end of a game on a 55-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Blake Hershelman to running back Yoree Washington.

  • Despite the 21-3 halftime score, it wasn't like the Knights were dominated in the first half. They had 102 yards of total offense to CR's 134.

  • Knight quarterback Blake Hershelman is suffering through a passing slump in his last two games (3 for 15 with 4 interceptions) but has tried to make up for it with his running ability. In those games, Hershelman has rushed for 131 yards including a 61-yard run early against CR.

  • Sussex Central's next two games are Friday, Nov. 10, at rival Sussex Tech, and Friday, Nov. 17, against Christiana at home.

Game of the Week Video ...

(Requires Real Player)

Sussex Central's Blake Hershelman
Play of the Game:

Sussex Central quarterback Blake Hershelman rips off a 61-yard run.

Other Games of the Week...

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