Sussex Central 30, McKean 6
Photos: SC quarterback David Pusey (top), noseguard Raheim Brunskill (middle), and placekicker Justin Battaglino (bottom).
The Golden Knights rolled to their second straight win to open the season with the nonconference triumph over McKean.
Fueled by fullback Orlando Farrow's 154 yards rushing and two touchdowns and a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Andrew Weatherly, the Knights bounced back from a 6-0 deficit with 27 points over the second and third periods.
The defense also came up big, holding McKean to a pair of first half field goals after the Hilltoppers drove inside the Knight 10 on two drives.
That defense also kept McKean tailback Trevor McLaurin, regarded as one of the top five running backs in the state by SC head coach John Wells, out of the end zone. McLaurin, at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, is also a track standout in the 100 meters.
"At times we bent but we didn't break," said Wells. "We had two goal-line stands. Their six points could have easily been two touchdowns. To keep us behind 6-0 instead of 14-0 was pretty large."
Wells said his defense returns a corp of proven veterans in Farrow, Weatherly, linebacker Jesse Makowski and linemen Terry Williams and Layton Wright. They, Wells said, have gelled nicely with newcomers Spencer Booth, Raheim Brunskill, Jeremy Baker, Mark Hernandez and Steve Whitley.
"We return quite a bit of experience on defense but again we have some guys stepping up," said Wells. "These are guys who weren't on the field much last year but they've stepped up this year with that core of five or six players who played a lot last year."
Another nice surprise has been Farrow. A stalwart defensive end last season, Farrow moved into the focal point of the Wing-T offense at fullback this year despite his uncommon fullback size of 6-3, 210.
"A lot of times the fullback becomes that featured back," said Wells of Farrow, who has rushed for 262 yards on just 21 carries in the Knights' first two games. "That's why George Davis played fullback and before him Deion Stephens. He moves real well and has great explosive speed. He accelerates well with one or two strides. He's also surprisingly quick with his lateral movement. He's been a pleasant surprise."
Central took a 7-6 lead in the second quarter on a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Pusey to Weatherly. Pusey put the ball high and to the outside for Weatherly, who leaped over the McKean defender, caught the ball, and came down with both feet in bounds in the end zone.
""Pusey orchestrated a nice drive and threw a beautiful ball against tight coverage on a corner flag route," said Wells. "He put it in a perfect spot, outside and high, and Drew made a great catch at the line.
Farrow then scored from five yards out with 40 seconds left to put Central up 14-6 at halftime. That score was set up when McLaurin made a mistake in grabbing a kickoff by Knight kicker Justin Battaglino as the ball was heading out of bounds at the McKean 1.
The Knight defense buried McKean there to give the offense outstanding field position.
"Because of the McLaurins back there (on kickoff returns), we had Justin pooch the ball short to keep it away from them last year," said Wells. "We saw on last year's films that they (McLaurins) were cheating up on kickoffs when we tried to pooch it so this time Justin kicked off deep and put it in a nice spot. Those were a couple of key plays for us, Pusey's touchdown pass to Andrew and Justin with the heads-up kickoff."
Battaglino also drilled a 29-yard field goal and hit 3 extra point kicks.
In the second half, the Knights took full control on Weatherly's 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the third quarter. Farrow followed that up with a 29-yard touchdown run that made it 27-6 Central.
For the game, Pusey went 6-for-8 for 51 yards and a touchdown. J.J. Ricketts rushed 6 times for 51 yards, and Weatherly ran 3 times for 48 yards and caught 2 passes for 28 yards. The Knights posted 346 total yards including 295 on the ground.
The Knights, who have outscored their first two opponents 78-12, host Glasgow of the Blue Hen Conference on Friday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 p.m. Glasgow lost to Henlopen Conference Northern Division power Dover, 16-12, on a last-minute touchdown in its season-opener and beat Christiana 40-6 on Friday, Sept. 21.
"Glasgow is very physical," said Wells of the Dragons. "They won't play second fiddle to many teams physically, including Newark and William Penn. They handled Dover on both sides of the ball physically but Dover had the skill players to compensate. It will be a challenge for our lines to step it up this week."
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