Delmar 36, Forrestville (Md.) 0
Photo: Delmar receiver Demeris Cannon (top), running back Sean Hudson (middle) and head coach Dave Hearn (bottom)
Delmar's football coaches figured the Wildcat defense would carry the offense in the early going this year.
But they didn't figure that their offense would prove to be as potent as last year's juggernaut that included first team all-conference quarterback Dustin Johnson and running back Ian Hudson.
In the Wildcats' nonconference preparations for a run at what they hope will be a second consecutive Division II state title, the offense, though different, has racked up similar numbers including a 36-0 win over Forrestville on Friday, Sept. 28.
Head coach Dave Hearn attributes the offense's effectiveness to a passing attack that came along just in time to replace the Wildcats' traditional ground attack.
Where Johnson and Hudson ran circles around defenders in the past, quarterback John Webster and ends Michael Hunt and Demeris Cannon have been going over defenders this season.
Couple them with running back Sean Hudson, who has stepped into brother Ian's shoes, and the Wildcats, averaging 41.25 points a game so far, present a frightening array of weapons for defenses to worry about.
"Webster has thrown the ball as well as any quarterback we've had since I've been here in 10 years," said Hearn. "We have two of the best receivers we've had also. The timing has been very good as far as not having a great runner like Dustin. Everything has worked out just right.
"We've never been a throwing team. We might have thrown four or five times a game in the past just to say we did. For us, this is a bit new. We're working in new phases of the game offensively, philosophy-wise. That's helped us to jump out in front of teams in a hurry."
Against Forrestville, all weapons were firing with Hudson rushing for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns on 10 carries and Webster connecting on 4 of 6 passes for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Hearn said the lopsided victories have enabled the Wildcats to build some depth heading into the Henlopen Conference Southern Division season. Webster has shared the quarterbacking duties with freshman Brandon Hudson, while junior Jonathan Ellis, the odds-on favorite to start in preseason, is expected to return from a stress fracture next week.
"He'll help us if he comes back," said Hearn of Ellis. "It will be that much more competition."
Defensively, no one has been particularly surprised as many starters returned from a defense that clamped down on opponents in the second half of last season.
Led by middle linebacker Lawrence Sinagra, the defense has surrendered only one touchdown so far while recording three straight shutouts in games in which Delmar outscored its opponents, 117-0.
The tune was much the same against Forrestville, with the defense stifling Forrestville's offense. Sinagra and Cannon both picked off passes for the Wildcats.
Hearn credited the preparation of defensive coordinator Dave McDowell for the defense's performance.
"Friday night was as good a defensive effort as I've seen in a long time," said Hearn of the Forrestville win. "They were on their game from the first play to the end."
After blowing through for Maryland opponents, the Wildcats now prepare to defend their Henlopen Conference Southern Division title with their Homecoming game against Seaford on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 3 p.m.
"So far it couldn't have worked out any better for us as far as getting what we thought as an inexperienced young offense a chance to get its feet on the ground," said Hearn. "Now we'll find out if it works in Delaware, too."
That will start against Seaford, which fell to 1-2 with a 26-0 loss to St. Elizabeth, which Delmar beat in last year's Division II state championship game, on Friday night.
"Seaford is improved over last year," said Hearn. "They've made some mistakes and had some breakdowns, which you can't do against good teams. But they're confident and you can tell they're a better football team. I think we'll have our hands full, but that's true of any conference game. Teams play a little differently when things are on the line. You're not allowed to make any mistakes. The learning part is gone."
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