Repeat Run in States
Challenged by Wishbone
Photos: Delmar head coach Dave Hearn hopes to hold the championship trophy again.
Immediately after Delmar High School's Division II state football championship last season, Wildcat underclassmen, particularly the sophomores, started talking "Repeat".
After a 2001 regular season in which the Wildcats have thoroughly dominated everyone in their path, the time has arrived to defend that state title.
The 10-0, top-seeded Wildcats host 8-2, fourth-seeded Hodgson in the semifinals of the 2001 Division II state tournament on Friday, Nov. 23, at 7:30 p.m.
Second-seeded and unbeaten Middletown hosts 8-2 and third-seeded St. Elizabeth -- the team the Wildcats beat 41-34 in last year's state championship game -- in the other semifinal on Saturday at 7 p.m.
The Wildcats, under head coach Dave Hearn, have been frighteningly efficient this season, dispatching their 10 opponents by an average score of 38.6 to 4.1 points a game in running their consecutive game winning streak to 21.
The defense, a year older and wiser and faster than last year, has been most impressive, allowing only 28 of those points under the guidance of assistant coach Dave McDowell.
Keyed by noseguard Trey Jackson and middle linebacker Lawrence Sinagra up the middle and speed to burn everywhere else, opposing offenses have found little room to move against the Wildcats.
Counting two games in which the offense gave up touchdowns on fumbles, the defense has actually recorded six shutouts.
Other key defensive players include defensive ends Michael Hunt and Scott Price, linebackers Zarar Shauket, James Stewart and Troi Handy, and safety Vince Stewart.
The offense, meanwhile, rebounded nicely from the graduation of all-conference quarterback Dustin Johnson and tailback Ian Hudson from last year's title team.
Sean Hudson has replaced his brother Ian and compiled 1,530 yards rushing with 25 touchdowns for an incredible 11.9 yards per carry average.
In fact, the yards per carry has been the most amazing aspect of Delmar's offense this season. Behind the offensive line of center Travis Hearn, guards Jacob Dattilo and Josh Farr, and tackles Billy Owens and Jay Heater, Wildcat running backs have averaged 8.4 yards per carry, not to mention 270 yards per game.
The quarterback situation has been unsettled between senior John Webster and freshman Brandon Hudson but effective nonetheless. Webster started most of the season but Hudson has started the past couple of games.
Hudson started against Woodbridge in a 35-7 Henlopen South clinching win over Woodbridge last week and while errant option pitches led to several fumbles and he only passed for 28 yards, he did rush for 55 yards and score a touchdown.
Webster has been the more productive passer, completing 19 of 35 attempts for 6 touchdowns with 2 interceptions. Ends Michael Hunt and Demeris Cannon have been the quarterbacks' favorite targets with 20 catches for 572 yards and 8 touchdowns combined.
Hearn said he was "almost" certain Hudson would start Friday night and that he wouldn't hesitate to start Hudson even though he is a freshman.
"Not at this point in the season," said Hearn. "We've been lucky enough to bring him along slowly, rotating in and out (with Webster). The last few games have been pressure games and he was on the field on special teams as an 8th grader last year against St. E (in state title game)."
Hodgson has won four straight games since a 20-13 loss to Middletown on Oct. 13.
The Silver Eagles' wishbone offense is led by senior Joe Cylc, a 6-0, 235-pound fullback, and quarterback Lenzie Davis. Both have rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season.,p>
While Hearn was familiar with Cylc, he was caught by surprise by Davis in watching game films this week.
"The quarterback is very aggressive at the option and really quick and wants to run very much himself," said Hearn. "He's a little bit scary in that regard. I hadn't heard much about him. He has the ability to hurt you. He's scary to watch."
The Eagles also make big plays on special teams with six blocked punts recovered for touchdowns this season.
"They come after punts, every one I saw," said Hearn. "You can see they're just a step away from every kick and every punt. We've addressed that subject."
Hearn said the Wildcats will not be able to get away with the fumbles and penalties that they've committed the past two weeks. In the win over Woodbridge, Delmar fumbled five times, lost two, and committed a dozen penalties.
"We can't afford that this week," said Hearn.
Starters for Delmar in its Division II state tournament semifinal against Hodgson on Friday, Nov. 23.
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