from Clinching South
Keeps 'Cats Unbeaten
Photo: Delmar's defense swarms on Laurel running back Jermel Horsey.
Photos: Delmar's Maurice Stewart (31) gets an escort from Michael Hunt on a 75-yard TD run while running back Sean Hudson hurdles Laurel's Tyler Downes.
LAUREL -- The trip was only a few miles, but it went a long way in determining if the Delmar High School football team can win another Henlopen Conference Southern Division championship this season.
The defending state champions whipped rival Laurel 43-6 on Friday, Nov. 9, 2001 to rise to 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the Henlopen South with their 20th consecutive victory going back to last season.
The victory sets up a showdown with Woodbridge for the division title and automatic Division II state tournament berth on Friday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m. Woodbridge is 4-1 in the South and 6-3 overall after beating Indian River 28-14 on Friday, Nov. 9.
Delmar can clinch another state tournament berth with a victory over Woodbridge, who the Wildcats beat twice last year, once in the regular season finale to capture the South and then a week later in the first round of the state tournament.
Laurel, meanwhile, was officially eliminated from the division title race. The Bulldogs dropped to 3-2 in the South and 4-5 overall.
Against Laurel, the Wildcats sputtered with fumbles early but their rock-ribbed defense prevented the Bulldogs from capitalizing.
The Wildcats held Laurel to just 21 yards in the first half but improved on that in the second half to allow only 24 total yards in the game.
Up 3-0 on a 27-yard field goal by Cody Collins, Delmar scored its first touchdown on a 28-yard run by running back Sean Hudson for a 9-0 lead near the end of the first quarter. Hudson finished with 146 yards rushing.
The score remained 9-0 midway through the second period before a Wildcat outburst put the game away before halftime.
In less than three minutes, from the 5:15 mark to the 2:33 mark of the second quarter, Delmar scored three touchdowns -- two by running back/linebacker Maurice Stewart -- to go ahead 29-0.
First, Stewart broke off a 75-yard touchdown run for a 16-0 lead. He finished with 89 yards on the ground.
Then, freshman quarterback Brandon Hudson connected with junior end Michael Hunt on a 28-yard touchdown pass.
And just 14 seconds later, Stewart came up big again with a back-breaking 34-yard interception return for a touchdown and the 29-0 lead.
Laurel showed some life midway through the third period when David Allison scooped another Delmar fumble and raced 65 yards for the Bulldogs' only touchdown.
That euphoria was short-lived, however, as Delmar stormed back with a 4-play, 48-yard drive capped by a 6-yard run by Sean Hudson.
Troi Handy scored Delmar's final touchdown on a 19-yard run with 20 seconds left in the third period.
Photo: Laurel's Eston Ennis clutches a fumble recovery early in the game.
2:03 -- DELMAR (3-0 Delmar)
:24 -- DELMAR (9-0 Delmar)
5:15 -- DELMAR (16-0 Delmar)
2:47 -- DELMAR (22-0 Delmar)
2:33 -- DELMAR (29-0 Delmar)
6:18 -- LAUREL (29-6 Delmar)
5:18 -- LAUREL (29-6 Delmar)
:20 -- LAUREL (29-6 Delmar)
Delmar head football coach Dave Hearn on the win:
"Defensively, we played just about as well as we could play. Offensively, we made some mistakes here and there with turnovers, errors in formations or somebody going the wrong way, but we had some bigplays and we moved the ball more consistently than we had the last few games. It's the fumbles that irritate me. Sooner or later we may get into a situation where the score is affected by it. The defense, as long as it plays like it is, the fumbles don't become a big point in the game."
Hearn on linebacker Maurice Stewart's back-breaking interception return for a touchdown near the end of the first half:
"We were hoping to score one more time before the half and Maurice made a big play there. We were kind of teetering on the edge of where we felt comfortable (with a 22-0 lead)."
Hearn on freshman quarterback Brandon Hudson:
"We have two or three quarterbacks who are capable (including starter John Webster). Brandon gives us that little extra bit of speed that can help us apply a little more pressure (on defenses)."
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