36-7 for Div. II State Title
Photo: Delmar running back Sean Hudson on the way to a TD on a hook-and-ladder pitch from tight end Michael Hunt (46).
Publisher, Sussex County Online
Photos: Delmar quarterback Brandon Hudson races to a 56-yard TD run (top), while defensive end Michael Hunt puts an exclamation point on one of his 3 1/2 sacks.
DOVER -- After the 2001 Delaware Division II state championship game on Saturday, Dec. 1, a lot of Division II high school football coaches would probably like to see lil' old Delmar move right on up to Division I with Middletown next season.
Unleashing a dazzling array of touchdowns in the first five minutes of the third quarter at Delaware State University, the Wildcats destroyed Middletown 36-7 to send a honking convoy of Delaware and Maryland cars south on U.S. 13 to celebrate the 'Cats' second straight state title.
The Wildcats, leading just 7-0 at halftime on a 63-yard touchdown run by standout senior halfback Sean Hudson, stunned one of the state's proudest football programs with a long touchdown run, a long pass for a touchdown on a hook-and-ladder play, a return of a fumble for a touchdown, and a kickoff return for a touchdown before the third period was even half over.
An 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Keyontae Willis put the Wildcats ahead 35-7 with 7:07 remaining in the third period and ended any doubts about the outcome of the battle of unbeatens.
In finishing at 12-0 overall with their second straight state crown, the Wildcats won their 23rd consecutive game in grand fashion.
It was a performance that undoubtedly cements Delmar's position among the state's great teams, such as Middletown.
"It's an honor to be just recognized with them," said Delmar head coach Dave Hearn. "You're not going to get above a program like that with all the great tradition they have. We just want to be in there where we feel like we can play with them and we do things the right way."
Middletown, which won three straight state titles from 1997-99, entered its last Division II championship game before moving up to Division I next season with an unbeaten record. The Cavaliers finished their season at 11-1.
Delmar and Middletown appeared headed for the kind of finish befitting of two of the most storied programs in state history.
Each winners of four state championships now, the two teams were headed for a 0-0 halftime tie before Hudson broke off his 63-yard scoring run with 50 seconds left in the half.
That sent the Wildcats into the locker room on a high, and when they came out in the second half, they put on one of the most dazzling displays ever seen in a Division II championship game.
First, freshman quarterback Brandon Hudson ripped off a 56-yard touchdown run for a 14-0 lead with 11:02 left in the period. Brandon rushed for 110 yards and threw for 69 more from the quarterback position.
Then, after Delmar defensive back Troi Handy recovered a Middletown fumble at the Delmar 44, Brandon Hudson hit tight end Michael Hunt with a pass in the flats that Hunt lateraled to Sean Hudson for a 56-yard touchdown play and a 22-0 lead with 9:09 left in the third. In addition to the touchdown pass, Sean Hudson finished with 133 of Delmar's 275 yards rushing.
On Middletown's next series, Delmar linebacker James Stewart crushed Cavalier quarterback Mike Potts, causing a fumble that Hunt accidentally booted about 30 yards and then raced to pick up at the 10-yard line and run in for a 29-0 advantage with 8:56 left in the quarter.
Middletown showed some life after that as it used 30 yards in Delmar penalties to set up a 16-yard scoring pass from Potts to wide receiver Shawn Tolson to cut the deficit to 29-7 with 7:19 left in the quarter.
But the Wildcats quickly doused any thoughts of a comeback, as Willis picked up a loose ball on the ensuing kickoff, found a seam, and raced 81 yards for a 36-7 lead at the 7:07 mark of the third period.
After that, Delmar turned matters over to its defense, which completely shut down Middletown's running game.
Besides holding Middletown to only 8 yards rushing in the second half and limiting standout Cavalier halfback Rausheen Lively to 54 yards on 20 carries for the game, the Wildcats harassed Potts time after time, finishing with 6 tackles for losses, 6 sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
By game's end, Middletown was so demoralized that it punted on fourth down at its own 47-yard line rather than go for it with less than 2 minutes left.
:50 -- DELMAR (7-0 Delmar)
11:02 -- DELMAR (35-13 Delmar)
9:09 -- DELMAR (22-0 Delmar)
8:56 -- DELMAR (29-0 Delmar)
7:19 -- MIDDLETOWN (29-7 Delmar)
7:07 -- DELMAR (36-7 Delmar)
Total Offense -- Delmar 41-344, Middletown 59-153.
Rushing -- Delmar 35-275, Middletown 31-42.
Passing -- Delmar 2-6-0, 69, 1 TD; Middletown 13-28-1, 181, 1 TD.
First Downs -- Delmar 13, Middletown 15.
Fumbles/Lost -- Delmar 3/2, Middletown 2/2.
Penalties/Yards -- Delmar 9-80, Middletown 5-40.
Delmar -- Sean Hudson 10-133, Maurice Stewart 8-40, Brandon Hudson 12-110, Vincent Stewart 1-5, Jacob Dattilo 1-2, Sam Warren 1-0, John Webster 1-(-1), Trey Jackson 1-(-14).
Middletown -- Rausheen Lively 20-54, Earl Gray 5-21, Shawn Tolson 1-2, Mike Potts 5-(-35).
Delmar -- Brandon Hudson 2-6-0, 69, 1 TD.
Middletown -- Mike Potts 13-28-1, 181, 1 TD.
Delmar -- Sean Hudson 56, Jeff Wright 1-13.
Middletown -- Shawn Tolson 6-108, Peter Baldwin 2-30, Earl Gray 2-22, Brant Hylinski 2-15, Tom Price 1-6.
Photo: Delmar lineman Josh Farr gets a congratulatory hug.
Delmar head coach Dave Hearn on his team's back-to-back state titles:
"It's hard to really compare it to anything. It's going to take time to settle in. The kids prepared all week as well as you could prepare. The coaches worked from the time we got done with Hodsgon all the way until today. At halftime they were still working. It doesn't stop. We've got as good a staff as anybody's going to find. That's why we are where we are. That's why it's 2 years in a row. It's not just the kids because they change, but those guys working with them on a daiy basis and preparing them real well. And they (players) have to listen. They believe in what they're being told."
Hearn on the rout:
"That third quarter, everything you could ask for happened for us, in all phases of the game. Special teams breaking a kickoff. We told them we thought we could break one today. We had that feel. We were going to go real simple, straight ahead, try to wedge one up the middle, and Keyontae Willis makes a great run. The defense, we pick up a fumble and run that in. Offense, they run one in. And of course, the defense stayed consistent all the way through."
Hearn on halfback Sean Hudson:
"Sean ran hard. I thought he ran as physical as he ran all year. He's willing to run inside and he's done it all year. He ran the hard yards in there. Like everybody else, they've (Cavaliers) got to be looking at him. Whereever he goes, somebody's going with him, probably two or three. And he took those shots and keeps bouncing off, stiff-arm, whatever he has to do, and of course his speed. And he follows his blocks probably as well as anybody I know."
Hearn on a possible "three-peat" next season:
"I didn't say anything. You didn' quote me there. I'm sure the kids do it. We've got a lot of kids coming back. We've got a huge junior class. I'm sure they're excited right now. That's another big step."
Hearn on avenging a 55-6 loss to Middletown in the 1997 semifinals:
"I'm sure the kids who played in 1997, 1998 and 1999, this makes them feel a lot better because I know they felt like they were out here with us. Last year (when Delmar beat St. Elizabeth 41-34 for the 2000 state title), I know the kids who played with us against St. E's when we lost to them in the finals in overtime (20-14 in 1996), every one of them, since I've seen them the past couple of years, have told me they felt like they won, too. I'm sure the kids who played (against Middletown in 1997), a lot of them were here today, and I'm sure they feel better about it."
Hearn on the Wildcat junior class that has been so instrumental in the two state titles:
"I think they stick togeher real well. Even in school, they are a really close-knit group, the whole grade, not just the football players. If you take the girls who are in field hockey, the boys who are in soccer, and the class as a whole, if you follow them around the building, they act that way in class, too, and in the cafeteria. They're a very close-knit group, they really are. They're different than any other grade we've got in the school building. They take a lot of pride in what they do. They don't mind tooting their own horn, as you heard them, but they're a special group. We'll miss them when they finally do leave here."
Delmar offensive lineman Josh Farr on the small Wildcat line's ability to beat bigger defensive lines:
"I just try to get underneath them, get my feet moving. That's the best I can do."
Farr on the key to the offense rebounding from the graduation losses of Dustin Johnson and Ian Hudson from last year's state title team:
"Mostly the new linemen stepping up and knowing what they should do in different situations and stuff like that. One of the biggest problems we had was putting the ball on the ground, and we did some today, but we didn't lose from it, so we're good."
Delmar defensive end/tight end Michael Hunt on his performance:
"My coaches got on me all week long about playing my best game this week. No. 4, I just wanted to prove I was better than No. 4. I showed that today. We're going for one more next year. I told you last year we were going for two more. We're going for one more next year. Three-peat! Three-peat next year! Three-peat!"
Hunt on the halftime message:
"In the locker room, we told 'em, we knew they weren't going to come out dead. We wanted the defense to get one touchdown and that would be a big momentum for us, and we did it. Luckily it was me. That was my first-ever defensive touchdown."
Hunt on Sean Hudson's 63-yard TD run at end of first half:
"Ah man, we knew if we could get a score at the end of the first half ... our defense is the best in the state of Delaware, and we knew if we got a score at the end of the first half, we were going to come out with a victory. And we did it."
Hunt, a junior, on Delmar's junior class:
"We just love playing with each other. We've been friends all our life. We won a state title back when we were little in Pee Wee. This is the second one. We're going for one more next year. We're coming back on defense. We're coming back next year."
Hunt on his fumble return for a touchdown:
"I tried to pick the ball up and I just kicked it. Luckily it rolled and I could beat out the Middletown offense to pick it up."
Delmar senior linebacker Troi Handy on leaving with two state titles:
"We just came out and played hard, gave it everything we had, and came out with a win. I knew it was going to be a game, a battle, but I had a feeling we were going to come out. We worked too hard during the off-season and stuff. We were trying to get another one back-to-back. That's all we talked about, back-to-back. We got it. Our last year, we did it up. That's all I wanted, another ring."
Handy on Delmar's chances for a state title next season:
"They've got a lot of young returning players on defense. Probably back-to-back again. I hope. I wish the best for 'em."
Delmar linebacker Lawrence Sinagra on avenging previous losses to Middletown:
"We had three years of paybacks sir, way back when by brother was playing. I knew it was coming. I just didn't know how fast it was coming."
Sinagra on year-long criticisms of the Wildcats' allegedly weak schedule:
"That's upper state, they're always bragging about how good they are. They're a lot bigger schools than us. But lower state, we just had something to prove, last year and this year, that we can contend with any of them. And plus, we strived really hard to give Middletown a loss before they go to Division I so they would never forget us. And clearly, that's what we did. But they're a heck of a team. They played excellent. There are some good boys on that team."
Sinagra on Sean Hudson's TD to give Delmar a 7-0 halftime lead:
"That set the tone right there. That clearly showed that we were capable of beating these boys. They (coaches) said (at halftime) it was going to be a challenge. Those boys (Cavaliers) were going to be down, but Middletown was never going to give up."
Delmar senior return man Keyontae Willis on his kickoff return for a touchdown:
"I don't know what to say. I've been holding it in all year. The defense is so stubborn, they only gave up 40 points all year, so they (fans) really can't see what the kick returner can do. They (Cavaliers) had just scored, they thought they were hot, so I had to do my turn and go score."
Delmar senior running back Sean Hudson on the Wildcats' big plays, including his 63-yard TD run just before halftime:
"We just had to come out and play with our hearts, pull out some big plays. We got big plays on offense, on defense, our kickoff return even pulled one off. All I said is you all give me a hole and I'll find it and I'll try to find a cutback and if I see a seam I'll take it, and eventually I'll end up with a touchdown."
Hudson on winning a title with his younger brother Brandon:
"It feels real good to win back-to-back with my little brother. He's great. He's improving all the time. He's going to be hard to stop in the future."
Delmar freshman quarterback Brandon Hudson on starting in a state championship game:
"I was more comfortable this game than the game we had with Hodgson. Basically, everything's the same (in finals versus semifinals). All you're gunning for is one thing, that state championship."
Copyright © 1999-2001 Sussex County Online