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Photos: Delmar's Sean Hudson (on ground above) celebrates. Below, Delmar's defense swarms on Woodbridge's Jamil Young
BRIDGEVILLE -- The Henlopen Conference Southern Division football title returned to Delmar Friday night as the Wildcats roared past Woodbridge 27-15.
Delmar finished the regular season with a 6-0 mark in the South, one game ahead of Woodbridge, which finished 5-1.
The Wildcats, 9-1 overall, also captured the automatic Division II state tournament berth that goes with the South crown. Woodbridge, at 8-2, figures to make the tournament for the second straight year based on the points system used to determine at-large berths.
Pairings for the Division II tournament will be announced this weekend. St. Elizabeth and three-time defending state champion Middletown are also expected to qualify.
Delmar began the 2000 season with a mission -- take back the Henlopen South crown it relinquished to Woodbridge last season after a run of four straight titles from 1995-98.
The Wildcats accomplished that mission Friday night with the usual big plays you expect from their offense and a tenacious defensive performance.
While running back Ian Hudson and quarterback Dustin Johnson made the big plays on offense, the Wildcat defense, led by Lawrence Sinagra, Michael Hunt and Vincent Stewart, hounded sophomore Woodbridge quarterback Jamil Young all night long.
Young was dropped for losses three times and sacked seven more times. By game's end, Young had run 23 times but gained just 4 yards on the ground. He did escape enough, though, to complete 8 of 16 passes for 155 yards including a a 27-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Jeremy Maddox. Young also scored on a 1-yard run.
The Delmar offense, meanwhile, needed some time to heat up in the frigid air. The Wildcats fumbled three times in the first half but led 6-3 at halftime on a 1-yard run by fullback Scott Price following a 78-yard run to the 3 by Hudson.
Delmar then struck quickly in the second half.
First, Johnson hit end Chris Zidanic with a 28-yard touchdown pass for a 12-3 advantage with 9:13 remaining in the third quarter. The pass was Johnson's only completion in the game.
Then, after an exchange of possessions, Johnson turned a routine quarterback sneak on first down into a 52-yard touchdown run that gave Delmar a 19-3 led with 3:52 left in the period.
The Blue Raiders got a break with 9:04 left in the game when linebacker Bo McDowell intercepted a Johnson pass at the Delmar 31. Two minutes later, Young and Maddox connected on a 27-yard scoring strike that pulled the Raiders within 19-9.
But after a failed onsides kick, Hudson put the wrap on the South title with a 29-yard burst that, combined with a two-point conversion pass from Johnson to Hunt, gave Delmar an insurmountable 27-9 lead with 5:23 remaining.
Woodbridge actually ran more plays -- 55-35 -- but the Wildcats' quick-strike offense ate up 319 yards to Woodbridge's 204.
Delmar fullback Scott Price (47) bulls over from 1 yard out.
2:39 -- DELMAR (6-0 Delmar)
:00 -- WOODBRIDGE (6-3 Delmar)
9:13 -- DELMAR (12-3 Delmar)
3:52 -- DELMAR (19-3 Delmar)
7:03 -- WOODBRIDGE (19-9 Delmar)
5:23 -- DELMAR (27-9 Delmar)
1:55 -- WOODBRIDGE (27-15 Delmar)
Total Offense -- Delmar 35-319, Woodbridge 55-204.
Rushing -- Delmar 31-291, Woodbridge 38-49.
Passing -- Delmar 1-4-1, 28, 1 TD; Woodbridge 8-17-1, 155, 1 TD.
First Downs -- Delmar 10, Woodbridge 15.
Fumbles/Lost -- Delmar 3/1, Woodbridge 0/0.
Penalties/Yards -- Delmar 6-55, Woodbridge 5-25.
Delmar -- Ian Hudson 9-152, Dustin Johnson 11-74, Sean Hudson 5-52, Raymond Hammond 5-12, Scott Price 1-1.
Woodbridge -- Andre Cannon 12-45, Jamil Young 23-4, Bo McDowell 2-5, Jeremy Maddox 1-(-5).
Delmar -- Dustin Johnson 1-4-1, 28, 1 TD.
Woodbridge -- Jamil Young 8-16-0, 155, 1 TD; Jeremy Maddox 0-1-1.
Delmar -- Chris Zidanic 1-28.
Woodbridge -- Jeremy Maddox 4-82, Chris Horsey 2-36, Alan Neal 1-38, Andre Cannon 2-(-1).
Photos: Delmar running back Ian Hudson rips off a 78-yard run.
Photos: Woodbridge quarterback Jamil Young (left) goes airborne to avoid a tackler and Woodbridge's Jeremy Maddox and Ian Hudson battle for a pass in the end zone.
Photos: Delmar's Michael Hunt and Vincent Stewart (left) combine on a sack. Delmar quarterback Dustin Johnson rolls out to pass.
Delmar head coach Dave Hearn on reclaiming the South title:
"The kids had their sights set on it from way early in the season. This week they've just been on a high. Tonight they were really excited to get into the game. It was a good, hard-hitting football game. Both teams played great."
Hearn on the keys to the victory:
"We had a couple of big plays, Dustin with a quarterback sneak makes a big play, a pass there in the third quarter. We just played great defense. I thought our defense played spectacularly because they've got that Young kid. He's just tremendous, he's hard to bring down. Maddox, we kept in check. He caught a couple of balls. That last one down there, he's not supposed to catch that ball but he goes and catches it anyway. They've got some great kids that make big plays and I thought we held them in check for the most part."
Hearn on containing versatile Woodbridge quarterback Jamil Young:
"We come after people real hard. I thought we put pressure on him to make a quick read to either throw it or run, and I'm not sure which is worse because when he runs he's tough to bring down. He doesn't go down very easily."
Delmar quarterback Dustin Johnson:
"It was a big game. We knew we had to win it. We came out with it, pulled it through for the town, for us, mostly. It was an empty feeling in our stomachs when we lost it. All summer we worked to get the South conference back, and that was our main goal this year to get the conference back, and then hopefully get to the playoffs and win a state championship."
Delmar running back Ian Hudson:
"It feels great. It always feels good to win the championship. I felt we had to do it. I felt it was mandatory for us to get the title back in Delmar. All the guys came back (from last year) and they talked about us because we lost it, so we had to get it back."
Delmar linebacker Vince Stewart:
"I came from the corner hard, you know. My defense, they were awesome. This man right here (linebacker Lawrence Sinagra), he did everything, man. All we did is take our keys right and go to the hole hard. That's all we did. We (linebackers) owe it all to our line."
Delmar linebacker Lawrence Sinagra:
"That's all you can ask for right there (South title). Delmar went straight to the top. All we've got is two more games, two more. We lost it last year but we're coming back now."
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