to Start South Defense
Again in 31-0 Win
Photo: Delmar linebacker Zarar Shauket races into end zone with fumble with teammate Maurice Stewart celebrating behind him. Below, Delmar quarterback John Ellis runs the option (top), while defensive end Scott Price (middle) and noseguard Trey Jackson put the brakes on Laurel ball carriers.
Publisher, Sussex County Online
DELMAR -- The defense never rests at Delmar High School, so even when the offense is struggling, the Wildcats are always a threat.
Such was the case again on Friday, Oct. 4, 2002, as Delmar began the defense of two straight Henlopen Conference Southern Division titles with a 31-0 thumbing of backyard rival Laurel.
Now 5-0 overall this year, the Wildcats have won 28 straight games -- the state's longest current winning streak -- going back to the 2000 season.
Laurel had been unbeaten entering the game, but even though the Bulldogs may not claim the South this year, at 3-1 overall with a pair of wins over Division I schools, they are still in excellent position to qualify for the Division II state tournament.
This figured to be one of Delmar's toughest tests of the season given Laurel's victories over Henlopen North foes Cape Henlopen and Sussex Tech. For 12 minutes, it appeared it would be before a packed crowd of more than 2,000.
With the Delmar offense coughing up a fumble and an interception, the Bulldogs were neck-and-neck with the Wildcats at 0-0 after the first quarter.
Problem was, while Delmar's offense was sputtering, the defense was shutting Laurel's vaunted offense down, too.
The Wildcats began asserting themselves late in the first quarter with a nice drive that culminated in a 2-yard touchdown run by Vince Stewart on the first play of the second period. Cody Collins' extra point made it 7-0 Delmar with 11:57 left in the quarter.
The Wildcat defense continued to throttle the Bulldogs, and the Wildcats eventually went ahead 14-0 on a 1-yard run by quarterback John Ellis with 1:08 left in the half.
By then, the Bulldogs had run 20 plays but gained just 72 yards, while Delmar had piled up 156 yards on the ground on 24 attempts.
Unfortunately for Laurel, the Delmar defense picked up its intensity in the second half, as it allowed the Bulldogs only 38 yards on 19 plays, picked off a pass, and recovered two fumbles, including one returned 12 yards for a touchdown by middle linebacker Zarar Shauket with 2:14 left in the game.
In the meantime, Delmar's offense continued to assert itself with a 36-yard field goal by Collins with 3:27 left in the third quarter and a 30-yard touchdown pass from Ellis to end Demeris Cannon with 10:02 remaining in the game.
Led by Vince Stewart's 148 yards rushing on 19 carries, Delmar piled up 329 yards of total offense to Laurel's 107. Ellis rushed for an additional 89 yards including some nice runs on options and a couple of big gains on quarterback sneaks.
11:57 -- DELMAR (7-0 Delmar)
1:08 -- DELMAR (14-0 Delmar)
3:27 -- DELMAR (17-0 Delmar)
10:02 -- DELMAR (24-0 Delmar)
2:14 -- DELMAR (31-0 Delmar)
Total Offense -- Delmar 50-329, Laurel 39-107.
Rushing -- Delmar 44-279, Laurel 28-65.
Passing -- Delmar 2-6-1, 30, 1 TD; Laurel 6-11-1, 42.
Fumbles/Lost -- Delmar 2/1; Laurel 2/2.
Penalties/Yards -- Delmar 6-25; Laurel 7-60.
Delmar -- Vince Stewart 19-148, John Ellis 12-89, Maurice Stewart 6-20, Scott Price 2-8, Chip Cuffee 2-8, Trey Jackson 2-10, Damion Miles 1-(-4).
Laurel -- Jermel Horsey 8-43, Chris Horsey 11-23, Andy Hartstein 4-(-4), Devry Hill 3-11, Jeremy Jones 1-0, Kyle Thompson 1-(-5), .
Delmar -- John Ellis 1-6-1, 30, 1 TD.
Laurel -- Andy Hartstein 6-11-1, 42.
Delmar -- Demeris Cannon 1-30.
Laurel -- Chris Horsey 2-19, Anton Ridley 2-8, Jermel Horsey 1-5, Jeff Downes 1-10.
Delmar head coach Dave Hearn on quarterback John Ellis' performance:
"He made good decisions on his own. He checked off a number of times because we did some new things on formations and he picked some of the plays on his own. Plus, he took the ball on his own several times for some nice gains. He ran the option well. I mean, he's not going to run 80 yards with it, but he made a lot of nice runs, made good choices with the ball, and probably had his best game."
Hearn on the intensity level with a packed house:
"They (Bulldogs) came out to play. That was hitting on both sides, every play, from kickoff to the end. This was a playoff caliber game, I thought. Both teams were thinking that. You can take the lead in the division and if you want to make the playoffs, this is the way you get started."
Hearn on running back Vince Stewart:
"Vince had a great game. He had the one dropped ball, but then he had a great game, defensive and offensively. He carried the ball solid, he ran hard, but all of our backs run hard. All of that started with John and our offensive line. That's the best job they've done this year, maybe all the way through the scrimages. They picked up a lot of hard stunts because they came hard. We played solid. That's about as well as we can play in a game."
Hearn on the Wildcat defense:
"I thought we played well. They did everything we talked about all week long about how we wanted to play their offense. They looked to me, by Wednesday, that they were in their huddle most of the time. When we were calling plays, calling their plays, I felt like our defense knew what was going on. Tonight it looked like they knew what was coming at them. They were really well prepared. Dave McDowell (defensive coordinator) and the other coaches did a great job with them. They played about as well as they could play defensively, mentally as well as physically."
Hearn on the Wildcats' 28-game winning streak:
"They're just one at a time now. We're trying to avoid that idea and make every game have its own identity."
Delmar quarterback John Ellis on the Wildcats' offensive line:
""The only thing I can say is that our offensive line played great. When you have an offensive line that executes almost perfectly every time, it makes my job a lot easier."
Photo: Laurel defenders Eston Ennis (50), Jeremy Jones (2) and Mark Pugh sandwich Delmar running back Maurice Stewart.
Copyright © 1999-2002 Sussex County Online