Dover for 1st Loss
to Overcome Bowers
Photos: SC's Ricky Pierre wraps up Dover's Pierre Bowers (top), Layton Wright drags down Dover's Lawrence Dixon (middle), and Orlando Farrow outruns Bowers to the end zone on 49-yard TD (bottom).
DOVER -- Several times Friday night, the Sussex Central High School football team appeared to have finally subdued the Dover Senators.
But every time fullback Orlando Farrow ripped off a long touchdown run up the middle or split end Andrew Weatherly lit up the night with another spectacular TD reception, Dover had an answer.
His name -- Pierre Bowers.
Arguably the state's best running back, Bowers rushed 44 times for 243 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Senators to a 34-32 win before a packed Homecoming crowd.
The victory avenged two losses to Sussex Central last season and more importantly, handed the Knights their first loss of the season in the race for the Henlopen Conference Northern Division crown and automatic Division I state tournament berth.
Sussex Central is now 2-1 in the North and 5-1 overall and faced with winning their four remaining games to assure themselves of a return trip to the state tournament and a shot at the North title.
Dover, now 7-0 overall and 2-0 in the North, still faces arch-rival Caesar Rodney in the season's final game.
On Friday night, Bowers, the state's leader in touchdowns with 22, had more carries than Sussex Central had plays. Most of Bowers' runs went for 4 to 5 yards, with just a few of the 20-yard variety. His touchdowns, for instance, went for 2, 13, 3, 23 and 3 yards.
The Senators needed every bit of Bowers' heroics to overcome a Golden Knight team that struck quickly for its touchdowns.
Farrow gave the Knights a 14-7 first half lead with touchdown runs of 79 and 49 yards and halfback Jonathan Ricketts hauled in a pretty 28-yard bomb from quarterback David Pusey just before halftime for a 20-14 Knight lead.
In the second half, after Dover had gone ahead 28-20, the Knights struck twice with Weatherly hauling in another pretty bomb from Pusey, this one fora 61-yard touchdown, and then turning a pass in the flats into a 71-yard touchdown play with a sweet spin move that left a Dover defender grasping at air.
Weatherly's second TD gave Sussex Central a 32-28 advantage with 4:59 remaining, but the Senators still had Bowers, and he responded with 10 straight carries on a 10-play, 60-yard drive that culminated with Bowers bulling in from the 3-yard line for a 34-32 Dover lead with 2:29 left.
The stunned Knights couldn't come back this time, as they turned the ball over on downs with 1:14 left.
11:55 -- DOVER (7-0 Dover)
6:57 -- SUSSEX CENTRAL (7-6 Dover)
6:28 -- SUSSEX CENTRAL (14-7 Central)
2:51 -- SUSSEX CENTRAL (14-14 Central)
:25 -- SUSSEX CENTRAL (20-14 Central)
10:05 -- DOVER (21-20 Dover)
:36 -- DOVER (28-20 Dover)
11:13 -- SUSSEX CENTRAL (28-26 Dover)
6:59 -- SUSSEX CENTRAL (32-28 Central)
2:29 -- DOVER (34-32 Dover)
Total Offense -- Sussex Central 36-347, Dover 64-310.
Rushing -- Sussex Central 23-175, Dover 59-298.
Passing -- Sussex Central 4-13-1, 172, 3 TDs; Dover 1-5-1, 12.
First Downs -- Sussex Central 9, Dover 19.
Fumbles/Lost -- Sussex Central 0/0, Dover 4/1.
Penalties/Yards -- Sussex Central 3-9, Dover 10-62.
Dover -- Pierre Bowers 44-243, Jason Lilly 5-52, Lawrence Dixon 7-7, Collins Evans 3-(-4).
Sussex Central -- Orlando Farrow 14-166, Jonathan Ricketts 5-(-6), Will James 3-14, Andrew Weatherly 1-1.
Dover -- Collins Evans 1-5-1, 12.
Sussex Central -- David Pusey 4-13-1, 172, 3 TDs.
Dover -- Jason Lilly 1-12.
Sussex Central -- Andrew Weatherly 2-132, Jesse Makowski 1-12, Jonathan Ricketts 1-28.
Sussex Central head coach John Wells:
"Breakdowns. A lot of things. Both teams played with a lot of heart. I commend both teams. I'm proud of my guys, they played with a lot of heart. I couldn't be happier with them."
Wells on his team's big plays:
"Our whole offense was sparking a little bit. They shut our running game down pretty good except for a couple of runs and we had to throw the ball on them. And we did well."
Wells on extra point problems:
"We were hurt by our kicking game a little bit. We missed a couple of extra points. We went for two. Extra points killed us. They hit all of theirs and we missed a couple of ours."
Wells on his team's chances for the state tournament:
"There's no doubt the winner of this game has the upper hand and the loser now has the pressure on them. 9-1 will probably put a team in the playoffs but 8-2 is going to be the point race. That puts pressure on us. We have to win out to guarantee anything and even then, there are no guarantees at 9-1. We feel we have to go 4-0 to get in."
Wells on Dover running back Pierre Bowers' performance:
"One, he's probably, if not the best back in the state, he's number two or three for sure. A lot of it was him, a lot of it was poor tackling, too. Some of the guys we depend on to make tackles didn't do it a couple times out there. You can't help a kid like that. You got a kid that good out there who's going to get yards on his own anyway and then you miss a couple tackles now and then, he'll murder you."
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