South, on to States
35-7 Win Over 'Bridge
Photos: From top to bottom, Delmar running back Sean Hudson turns the corner, Delmar defensive back James Stewart (on ground) hurries Jamil Young into an incomplete pass, and Delmar defensive end Michael Hunt (46) and linebacker Troi Handy (21) close in on Raider quarterback Jamil Young.
DELMAR -- A Henlopen Conference Southern Division championship is nothing new for the Delmar High School football program. But rarely have the Wildcats been as impressive as they have this year.
The Wildcats capped an unbeaten regular season with a 35-7 victory over visiting Woodbridge on Friday, Nov. 16, 2001, to capture their sixth Henlopen South title in the past seven years.
With the South crown out of the way, they will now attempt to win their second consecutive state championship when they begin the Division II state tournament Thanksgiving weekend.
The Wildcats finished the regular season with a 10-0 record and a 6-0 mark in the Henlopen South to earn an automatic state tournament berth.
Winners of 21 straight games going back to last season, they'll begin defense of their 2000 Division II state title either Nov. 24 or Nov. 25. The opponents, sites and times are still to be determined, but the Wildcats will likely host a first round game.
Friday's game marked the second straight year that the South title came down to the regular season finale between Woodbridge and Delmar. During the past seven years, Woodbridge is the only school besides Delmar to win a South title. The Raiders went unbeaten in 1999.
Woodbridge concluded this season with a 6-4 mark. The loss ends a two-year state tournament run for the Raiders, who overcame a 2-3 start to force Delmar to a decisive game for the South crown. The Raiders also posted their third consecutive winning season -- the first time in school history.
As for the Wildcats, they utilized their lethal combination of suffocating defense with an opportunistic offense keyed by standout tailback Sean Hudson and freshman quarterback Brandon Hudson.
While Woodbridge did score a touchdown, it was against the Delmar offense, not the defense, when linebacker Emilio Perry recovered a Delmar fumble in the end zone.
For the most part, Delmar stuffed Woodbridge's ground game, especially in the first half when Delmar went ahead 21-0.
Standout Raider tailback Andre Cannon only saw three carries in the first half for five yards. At the same time, the Delmar defense forced Woodbridge to move quarterback Jamil Young to running back and wide receiver to try to take advantage of the versatile junior's running ability in the open field.
The Wildcats bottled that up, too, though, allowing Woodbridge only 8 first downs for the game.
At the same time, Delmar collected four interceptions to shut down Woodbridge's passing game. Troi Handy, Demeris Cannon, Vincent Stewart and James Stewart had the interceptions.
With the defense controlling the game, the Wildcat offense, guided by freshman quarterback Brandon Hudson, was able to overcome a number of fumbles with four long touchdown runs by tailback Sean Hudson and reserve running back Troi Handy.
Sean, the heir to the tailback spot manned by his older brother Ian last season, scored three of the Wildcats' touchdowns on runs of 38, 95, and 59 yards. He finished with 243 yards rushing on 18 carries.
Brandon, meanwhile, scored another on a 7-yard run, and Handy scored Delmar's final TD on a 38-yard romp.
The Raiders came back in the second half, buoyed by Perry's fumble recovery for a touchdown.
That pulled the Raiders within 21-7, but after the defense stiffened against Woodbridge's best drive of the night, Hudson broke off his 59-yard scoring run midway through the fourth period to put the outcome out of doubt.
Barely a minute later, James Stewart intercepted a Passwaters pass, and the Wildcats immediately cashed in with Handy's 38-yard TD run on the next play.
3:34 -- DELMAR (7-0 Delmar)
10:44 -- DELMAR (14-0 Delmar)
5:18 -- DELMAR (21-0 Delmar)
9:53 -- WOODBRIDGE (21-7 Delmar)
7:09 -- DELMAR (28-7 Delmar)
6:03 -- DELMAR (35-7 Delmar)
Total Offense -- 53-454, Woodbridge 45-113.
Rushing -- Delmar 43-390, Woodbridge 30-82.
Passing -- Delmar 3-10-1, 64; Woodbridge 4-15-4, 31.
First Downs -- Delmar 16, Woodbridge 8.
Fumbles/Lost -- Delmar 5/2, Woodbridge 2/1.
Penalties/Yards -- Delmar 11-115, Woodbridge 3-9.
Delmar -- Sean Hudson 18-243, Maurice Stewart 7-25, Brandon Hudson 11-55, Jeff Wright 1-5, John Ellis 1-2, John Webster 1-(-1), Troi Handy 1-38, Sam Warren 1-1.
Woodbridge -- Andre Cannon 19-76, Jamil Young 10-4, Emilio Perry 1-2.
Delmar -- Brandon Hudson 2-8-1, 26; John Ellis 0-1-0; Sean Hudson 1-1-0, 38.
Woodbridge -- Jamil Young 0-6-1, 0; John Passwaters 4-9-3, 31.
Delmar -- Michael Hunt 1-38, Demeris Cannon 1-14, Maurice Stewart 1-12.
Woodbridge -- Jamil Young 4-31.
Delmar head coach Dave Hearn on the team's championship season:
"We were thinking 7-3, 6-4 would be a great season, maybe 8-2 would be a fantastic season. We had some early games we played well against teams we didn't know, so that helps. Here at the end, these four games in a row have been playoff games. Every one of these teams could have beaten us for the division. Each one of them had one loss. Woodbridge was the best of the group we thought and they came after us tonight. They were well prepared. They have a couple of great athletes in the backfield and they use them on defense, as well, and they're big up front. They gave us all we wanted."
Hearn on the Wildcats' defense:
"Our defense, as usual, kept us in it and we got a few big plays at the end and that made the score look a little like it is. It's fantastic defense, great defense. Team speed, aggressive, a lot of coaching, Dave McDowell does a great job with the defense. They do a lot of different things. It looks like what is is, but it's a lot of different looks we give teams. And then you take the speed and good athletes ..."
Hearn on Sean Hudson's 95-yard run and holding Woodbridge off:
"That was a big run. Then we turned right around and gave them a big penalty right before the half. I thought we maybe had a chance to put them away and go up 28-0. We had five minutes left (before halftime), but they got about a 35-yard penalty (two Delmar personal fouls on one play) over there on the sidelines. Without that, I thought maybe we could put them on the ropes. I thought that took them into the half still in the ballgame. I could see when they left the field they were ready (for the second half). They wanted more parts of us. They came out and got a touchdown on a fumble right to start with (on Delmar's first second half series) and then it's a ballgame. I was proud of our kids. We dug in. They took it to us again down the field on that drive. We dug in and stopped them there and then had a couple big plays. That's what you've go to have to beat a team like that. We're not going to drive the ball. We're not a long drive team. We're an explosive team. I wish we could drive it more."
Hearn on the chance to defend the Division II state title:
"That's a biggie. Not many teams get to do that at all. To repeat is just beyond our thoughts just yet. We've got to concentrate on who it is first. We'll go up tomorrow and watch a couple of teams. Middletown is there and always araound at the end. There are some teams we know. St. E's is in the hunt. they're going to play tomorrow morning. Hodgson I've seen a couple of times. They're a great football team, a big solid football team. So there's three good ones that are going to be there. We just happen to be one of them."
Delmar running back Sean Hudson on returning to the state tournament:
"It feels great. We had to take it step by step but we're back. We're going to make it back to states. We're going to play hard and try to win it again."
Hudson on the Wildcats' big plays:
We kept telling them (linemen), all they've got to do is make holes and we'll get through them and we'll either get a first down or we'll reward them with a touchdown. They just had to make the holes. Without the line, I can't go anywhere."
Hudson on his 95-yard touchdown run:
"Oh man, I didn't think I was even going to get that far. All I know is I saw the cutback and I took it."
Hudson on the Wildcats' defense:
"Coach (Dave) McDowell (defensive coordinator) told us to go out there and play our hearts out, stay calm and play our defense and we'll come out on top. That's our 'D' for you. Everybody's got their mind set that they don't want anybody to score on us. Sometimes they (opponents) break a big play, but they've got to earn it. They've got to earn every point they get."
Hudson on the challenge Woodbridge gave the Wildcats:
"They've got heart. That's a good team. I respect every team we play and that's a good team. They play with heart."
Hudson on whether he felt any pressure replacing his brother Ian, a standout tailback on last year's state championship squad:
"A little bit because he's got some pretty big shoes to fill. He did a lot of good running and I just tried to follow right behind him."
Hudson on winning the Henlopen Conference Southern Division title and returning to the state tournament again:
"It feels good, especially when everybody's keying on you. Delmar's got a big target on its chest right now going into the playoffs."
Delmar middle linebacker Lawrence Sinagra on the defense:
"The heart of our team is our defense. We don't get too much glory, but we do a lot of work and we work very had. It works both ways. Our offense, we've got to push them and make them a team, too. And as you can see, that's what we did. They did very good."
Sinagra on how the defense feels about not allowing other teams to score:
"I don't take it personally. We work as a team to achieve our goals, and our goals are to limit the other team from achieving any compliments, to lower their self-esteem, to get them down during a game and then we stay up."
Sinagra, comparing this year's defense to last year's defense that got hot at the end of the season:
"That's hard to say. Last year we had a lot of heart after that opening loss against Sussex Central. That hurt us a lot, but right from that we improved every game for 11 straight games to win the championship. This year, I do believe we could beat last year. We're a lot faster. We're not as big as last year, but we have a lot more speed. That's how we beat our opponents. As you can see, most of our opponents are bigger than us and we use our speed to our advantage. That's our best asset right there."
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