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Subdues Hodgson, 42-16
Photos: Delmar's Brandon Hudson (14) returns a punt 36 yards, linebacker Zarar Shauket (34) and Scott Price (47) drop Hodgson quarterback Lenzie Davis for a loss, and Delmar halfback Sean Hudson bursts through a hole created by fullback Maurice Stewart (31) and Demeris Cannon (82).
Publisher, Sussex County Online
DELMAR -- The Delmar High School football team hadn't been challenged all season, let alone insulted and injured.
So at halftime of the Delaware Division II state tournament semifinals on Friday, Nov. 23, 2001, the defending state champion Wildcats took head coach Dave Hearn's instructions to heart and took this challenge from fourth-seeded Hodgson personally.
That proved to be bad news for Hodgson, as the Wildcats scored 21 unanswered second half points to roll into the Division II championship game with a 42-16 victory.
The top-seeded Wildcats, now 11-0 and winners of winners of 22 straight games, face unbeaten Middletown in the state championship game at Delaware State on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 12:30 p.m. Middletown beat St. Elizabeth 33-20 in another semifinal on Saturday, Nov. 24.
By halftime of Friday night's game, the Wildcats led just 21-16, the closest anyone had been to them at halftime all season.
Worse, they were injured, as Hodgson sent starting quarterback Brandon Hudson to the hospital with a concussion.
And to add insult to that injury, the Silver Eagles had the nerve to score a touchdown against the Wildcat defense, the defense that allowed just 2.8 points a game all year, the defense that hadn't allowed a touchdown since late October.
No wonder the Wildcats took things so personally in the second half.
With that mindset, in the second half, they simply blew away a Hodgson team that had two 1,000-yard rushers in quarterback Lenzie Davis and fullback Joe Cylc and had averaged 46 points a game in its last four regular season contests.
The Delmar offense, guided by senior John Webster in place of Hudson, scored the first three times it had the ball in the second half, and the defense allowed none of the shenanigans that put Hodgson on the board in the first half.
On the Wildcats' first possession of the second half, senior halfback Sean Hudson busted through a tackle for a 45-yard touchdown run to give Delmar a 28-16 lead with 9:14 left in the third period. He would finish with 150 yards and four touchdowns.
After the defense stuffed Hodgson on the first of two big fourth-and-one situations, the offense came right back with a 2-yard TD run by Sean Hudson for a 35-16 advantage with 4:32 left in the quarter.
And after the defense came up big with a stoppage inside the Delmar 20 early in the fourth quarter, reserve running back Vincent Stewart, one of the Wildcats' defensive stalwarts, ripped off a 43-yard touchdown run on the heels of a 41-yard run by Sean Hudson to complete a 2-play, 84-yard drive that gave Delmar an insurmountable 42-16 lead with 9:55 left in the game.
The second half performance lifted the Wildcats from what, for them, was a relatively poor first half in which Hodgson quarterback Lenzie Davis took the game's opening kickoff and raced 94 yards for a touchdown just 14 seconds into the game. Jason Reyes' easy two-point conversion run gave Hodgson an 8-0 lead before the stunned Delmar crowd.
The Wildcats were then forced to punt on their opening possession, and Davis came right back with a 27-yard run for a first down at the Eagle 41.
That's when the Delmar defense stepped up for the first time, though, as linebacker Zarar Shauket and defensive end Scott Price, two of the most ferocious Wildcats on this night, dropped Davis for a 3-yard loss to force a punt that gave Delmar great field position at the Hodgson 37 following a bad snap.
Just two plays later, Brandon Hudson, before the concussion, rolled right and raced 37 yards into the end zone to pull Delmar within 8-7 with 5:10 left in the first quarter.
Another defensive stand, when Hodgson went for a first down on fourth-and-13 at its own 35, then gave Delmar the ball in Hodgson territory.
That mistake in judgment resulted in a four-play, 35-yard touchdown drive caped by Sean Hudson's 13-yard score for a 14-8 Delmar lead with 46 seconds left in the quarter. Running back Jeff Wright kept that drive alive with a 41-yard run on third-and-29.
The Delmar defense stiffened deep in its own territory again on the next Hodgson drive, which ended on fourth-and-two when Davis came up a yard short.
The two teams then traded possessions until Sean Hudson converted a 36-yard punt return by his brother Brandon into a 3-yard touchdown run and a 21-8 lead with 2:18 to go before halftime.
But that's when the Hodgson pushed the Wildcats' backs to the wall with an 8-play, 65-yard touchdown drive that included a 43-yard pass from Davis to running back Gary Rullo.
Rullo eventually scored on a one-yard run as Hodgson, without any timeouts, scrambled to get a play off with 15.2 seconds left in the half.
Another easy two-point conversion run by Reyes brought Hodgson within 21-16 at halftime and signalled a challenge that the Wildcats hadn't seen all season.
That was a challenge the Wildcats took personally.
11:46 -- HODGSON (8-0 Hodgson)
5:10 -- DELMAR (8-7 Hodgson)
46.0 -- DELMAR (14-8 Delmar)
2:18 -- DELMAR (21-8 Delmar)
15.2 -- HODGSON (21-16 Delmar)
9:14 -- DELMAR (28-13 Delmar)
4:32 -- DELMAR (35-13 Delmar)
9:55 -- DELMAR (42-13 Delmar)
Total Offense -- Delmar 48-347, Hodgson 49-222.
Rushing -- Delmar 43-304, Hodgson 44-170.
Passing -- Delmar 4-4-0, 43; Hodgson 2-5-0, 52.
First Downs -- Delmar 14, Hodgson 12.
Fumbles/Lost -- Delmar 2/0, Hodgson 1/0.
Penalties/Yards -- Delmar 3-23, Hodgson 2-20.
Delmar -- Sean Hudson 18-150, Jeff Wright 2-53, Vincent Stewart 2-48, Brandon Hudson 6-32, Maurice Stewart 10-24, Troi Handy 1-8, Keyontae Willis 2-(-5), John Webster 2-(-6).
Hodgson -- Lenzie Davis 17-68, Joe Cylc 12-45, Jason Reyes 7-31, Gary Rullo 8-26.
Delmar -- Brandon Hudson 2-2-0, 23; John Webster 2-2-0, 20.
Hodgson -- Lenzie Davis 2-5-0, 52.
Delmar -- Troi Handy 1-20, Demeris Cannon 1-18, Maurice Stewart 1-3, Sean Hudson 1-2.
Hodgson -- Gary Rullo 1-43, 1-9.
Delmar head coach Dave Hearn on his halftime message:
"We told them to take it personally with the people across from them. I thought they were pushing us around up front. Physically they were handling us. I don't know if they pushing us around, but we were not moving the ball. There were some people who were not making anything happen, so I kind of challenged them individually to take it personally with the man across from you. Let's see if we can't make a little bit more of it than what we were doing."
"Hearn on senior quarterback John Webster's performance in replacing injured starter Brandon Hudson:
"He did a heck of a job all season. Like i told him and I've told you, it's not anything he's done wrong that slipped him out of a starting position. I thought Brandon had just come along to a point where we couldn't keep him out of the starting position. He offers some different things that John doesn't. But John did a nice job coming in there. He controlled the offense, made no mistakes, which is exactly what he had to do."
Hearn on Sean Hudson's 125 yards rushing in the second half after gaining only 25 in the first half:
"He was much more physical in the second half. He bounced off some people and ran through some people rather than ... we were trying to get outside of them and get around them, he was going through whatever was there. so he was much more determined. I thought they took it personal in the second half. Really, they were more aggressive."
"Hearn on his defense shutting Hodgson down in the second half:
"They were challenged by those two kids especially, 45 (Hodgson fullback Joe Cylc) is a man going up in through there he really comes he brings it he doesn't quit running until you drag him to the ground. And 12 (Hodgson quarterback Lenzie Davis), he is just really quick. He's the best running back we've seen all year, I think, he really comes at you.
Hearn on the defense stopping Hodgson on fourth-and-short situations:
"That's what they've done all year. They have a lot of pride in what they've accomplished. They came after them. We talked to them a lot about that challenge ... these people are now going to see if they can take it. That defensive stuff you've done all year means nothing. Now you have to reassert yourself. We felt like the offense had to do something with the ball (after the defensive stops). We had to really assert ourselves physically, not just try to finesse them around. We were trying to go right at them, and we did that."
Hearn on Hodgson quarterback Lenzie Davis:
"He is tremendous. He never quit until the last, until they made him stop."
Delmar defensive end Scott Price on the second half effort:
"They (Silver Eagles) brought power to us. They lined up double-tight, brought everybody to the outside. They stuck us on the outside, but we held down, pulled together, and when the second half came along, we stuck it to them. That was all it was. That's a good team."
Price on his thoughts when Hodgson returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown:
"My first thought was, 'Man, it's going to be a tough game. We're going to have to stick it to them. It's going to be first team all the way, first team defense, first team defense out there all night. Then the offense made some big plays there, the defense started coming along, and we pulled together, we stuck together, and got our pride back. The defense got its pride back. The defense held their pride up. That's all it was."
Price on returning to the state championship game:
"It feels great. It's the best time of my life. Last year was my first season with the Delmar team. We were little and I didn't think we were going to be that good. Summer practice wasn't all that great, but we came through. This year I feel more confident. Everybody moved up, we've still got good players, and next year's going to be the same thing. It feels good to go back. We're ready to get that rock."
Price on the pressure of defending a state title:
"It puts a lot of pressure on us. There's pressure every game. Every game, the defense, there's a lot of pressure. We don't want anybody to score on our defense. We go out there with a lot of pride and a lot of heart, so we can do what we came to do, go to the state tournament."
Delmar linebacker Zarar Shauket on subduing Hodgson's offense:
"That's a power offense. It's all about power, really, but the defense, all we've got to do is be quick and fire off the ball. We won't lose. We won't lose. That 16 points that were up there, eight were on a kickoff and the other was a long play, a little lucky play, but we held it down all day, gut check every fourth down, and we came through."
Shauket on who he took his game personally against from Hodgson:
"It was that fullback for me and the lineman on my side. That's what we did. We took it personally and came out with the win."
Shauket on the Wildcats' defensive team speed:
"We play with speed and we're going to keep going. We want that rock right now. Middletown is what I want, personally. We've already shown St. E's. Middletown, we haven't gotten back yet. That's all I want."
Shauket on his thoughts when Hodgson scored a touchdown against the defense:
"Just that we have to come out in the second half fired up and played harder. they're a good ball team. they ran it on us. all we had to do was gut check, gut check."
Shauket gives a "shout out":
"I give a shout out to coach Mac (defensive coordinator), and the linebacker crew, my lineman Trey Jackson, who deserved all-conference, all-state, he didn't get anything but he deserves all the credit in the world."
Delmar running back Sean Hudson on his tackle-breaking touchdown runs:
"Coach Hearn just told us about keeping our legs moving and when you keep your legs moving, the only thing they can do is grab your jersey."
Hudson on senior John Webster replacing his brother Brandon Hudson at quarterback after Brandon suffererd a concussion:
"It's about the same. They both can do great things. When Brandon went out, John came in and he stepped up and we did the same things that had been going on when Brandon was there."
Hudson on the Wildcats' dominant second half performance:
"Coach told us we had to take control. Coach was basically saying we got to go out there and play because those guys aren't going to stop. You noticed they didn't stop at all. They came after us, so coach Hearn was telling us to take it personally with the man across the line and attack them instead of them attacking us."
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