in North Showdown
Photo: Sussex Central head coach John Wells.
The Sussex Central High School football team travels to Dover on Friday, Oct. 19, 2001, for a mid-season showdown of unbeaten teams against an opponent that will be seeking revenge.
Last season, the Golden Knights whipped Dover twice, 26-7 during the regular season and then 33-3 in the first round of the Division I state tournament.
It's not likely that the Senators have forgotten those beatings, either, given that many of them were underclassmen last year.
"They know who we are," said Sussex Central head coach John Wells. "Last year we put it on them pretty good and they're going to remember that. They're going to try to come after us and we're going to try to hold serve."
Friday night's game between the two teams will be the first in a series of showdowns that will decide the Henlopen Conference Northern Division champion and automatic berth in this year's state tourney.
Caesar Rodney is also in the running for the North title. The Riders face Central on Nov. 2 and have their annual grudge match against neighborhood rival Dover in the season's final game.
Last year, the three teams tied for the North title but CR ultimately claimed the crown under the conference's tie-breaking system.
Both Dover and Sussex Central enter Friday's game regarded as the state's top teams behind defending state champion Newark.
Central is 2-0 in the conference and 5-0 overall after a 22-7 victory over Cape Henlopen on Friday, Oct. 12. Dover is 1-0 in the North and 6-0 overall after its 43-19 win over Sussex Tech on Oct. 12. CR is 2-0 in the North, as well.
"We have to take one game at a time," said Wells. "If you put too much on one game or too little, it can bite you. We know they're undefeated and ranked No. 2 by the News-Journal, but that means nothing. It's a football game and we've got to go up there and play football with those guys, tackle well, block well, keep turnovers down, and keep the penalties down.
"It's a fundamental game no matter who you're playing. We've got to take care of the basics before we can go out there and get all emotionally jacked up for them."
The two teams have played only one common opponent so far this year, with Central beating Glasgow 38-6 and Dover beating Glasgow 16-12.
The Knights are led offensively by fullback Orlando Farrow, halfback J.J. Ricketts, split end Andrew Weatherly, and rapidly maturing quarter David Pusey.
Pusey, a senior, had his best game with 204 yards passing in the win over Cape Henlopen.
The Senators are led by senior running back Pierre Bowers, who has been Mr. October with 476 yards rushing and 7 touchdowns in a 43-19 win over Tech last week and a 26-0 win over St. Mark's on Oct. 5.
Junior quarterback Collins Evans and running back Jason Lilly are the Senators' other main offensive weapons.
Dover officials advise fans planning to attend Friday night's game between Dover and Sussex Central to arrive early due to limited parking because of construction. The game between unbeaten teams is also Dover's Homecoming. Gates open at 6 p.m.
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