Laurel 41, Cape Henlopen 13
Photos: Laurel head coach Ed Manlove and quarterback Andy Hartstein confer (top), Laurel's Jeff Downes (1) and Brock Montague converge on Cape's Stephan Shockley (middle), and Zach Slatcher dives for a Cape fumble (below).
Few coaches ever experience the thrills and chills of their players dunking the water bucket on them after a big victory.
Then there's Ed Manlove, whose lifetime head coaching record, following his Laurel High School football team's 41-13 season-opening victory over Cape Henlopen on Friday, Sept. 6, now includes one win, no losses, and one dunk.
"It was cold," said Manlove after his club shocked Cape with 35 second half points in the non-conference game.
To be sure, Manlove had to feel warm and fuzzy underneath his drenched clothes after his club turned numerous Cape mistakes in the second half into a surprising victory.
After battling to a 6-6 tie, Laurel, from Division II, stunned the large Cape crowd gathered for the renaming of Cape's stadium to Legends Field.
The Bulldogs, taking advantage of Cape fumbles and penalties, scored 29 straight points in the third period to take a 35-6 advantage into the fourth quarter.
That killer instinct wasn't lost on Manlove, a long-time Middletown assistant who didn't take over the Bulldogs until the day before camp began on Aug. 15.
"That's what we teach the kids," said Manlove, who served as Middletown's defensive coordinator the past four seasons. "Football's about aggression and putting the nails in the coffin. That's what we try to teach these kids. When you get a team backed into a corner and get on top of them, you have to put them away."
Laurel did just that after going into the locker room with a 6-6 tie on a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andy Hartstein to Jeff Downes. By the time the Bulldogs were through, they had put up their highest point total since at least 1999.
First, Downes recovered the opening kickoff of the second half when Cape allowed the ball to bounce around at its own 20. Running back Chris Horsey immediately converted that miscue with a 20-yard scoring run just 9 seconds into the third period.
Up 14-6, the Bulldogs struck again moments later when Hartstein found Kyle Thompson on a 28-yard touchdown pass for a 21-6 advantage with 10:11 left in the third period.
Cape then gave Laurel the ball at its own 9 with a bad punt snap, and after the Vikings' defense stiffened to hold Laurel on third-and-goal, the Vikings committed a disastrous penalty with 12 men on the field to give the Bulldogs another shot.
On the next play, Cape held again and caused a Laurel fumble, but in the fight for the ball, the Vikings committed an unnecessary roughness penalty to give Laurel a first down on the Cape 1. Running back Jermel Horsey turned that gift into a 1-yard sweep for a 28-6 lead with 6:35 to go in the third.
Barely a minute later, Laurel recovered another Cape fumble and turned that into a 15-yard touchdown pass between a pair of Cape defenders from Hartstein to end Anton Ridley for a 35-6 lead with 3:29 remaining in the third quarter.
Cape would put a score on the board early in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs closed out the scoring on a punishing 14-yard run by reserve running back Devry Hill late in the game.
Hartstein, one of the Henlopen Conference's better throwers, completed 5 of 11 passes for 133 yards and the three touchdowns. Chris Horsey and Jermel Horsey keyed the Bulldogs on the ground with 64 and 51 yards rushing, respectively.
Defensively, Jeremy Jones led Laurel with 7 solo tackles, while Brock Montague, Eston Ennis, Downes and David Allison recorded 5 tackles apiece. Thompson and Downes both recovered fumbles.
The Bulldogs visit Riverdale Baptist (Md.) in another non-conference game on Friday, Sept. 13, at 7:30 p.m. Laurel beat Riverdale 40-14 last season.
Laurel head coach Ed Manlove on taking over the team one day before camp started:
"The first day of practicre we only had 23 kids. We've gotten up to a little over 40 now. Everybody's slowly trickling back out. It's a change and I expected that. I'm just being persistent and being patient with it. These kids really really work hard and they want to win bad. That's their goal and I'm going to do everything I can to make them successful."
Manlove on the key to his team's success:
"We play one game at a time. We want to stay focused. I think that was our biggest problem in the first half. We were just a little unfocused , a little unsure of what we had to do. We made a lot of adjustments and showed them what they had to do and put it in black and white, and they came out and played the game."
Manlove on quarterback Andy Hartstein's courage to throw into coverage:
"He's got a strong arm and he should be able to get it there. We have good receivers that are strong receivers that can come down with the ball. We're going to put him in position to challenge people. If he can get the ball near them, I think we have a better chance than they do of coming down with it. We work on that in practice and that's the way we're going to do it."
Laurel quarterback Andy Hartstein on the second half explosion:
"We came out a little sloppy the first half. The second half we executed and played like we can play and showed you what we can do."
Hartstein on the confidence he has in his receivers to throw into coverage:
"I've got one guy who's 6-4 and he's a really great basketball player, so I know he can go up and get anything. And I'm just sure of my receivers. They've been catching the ball all year and I'm not going to stop throwing to them. They're going to make plays."
Hartstein on gelling so quickly under new coach Ed Manlove:
"Coach kept us disciplined. We all want to win. We just keep that focus and every day we'll get better. We just have to keep doing that."
Laurel running back Chris Horsey on the team coming together so fast:
"Really, it was the coach because he kept us really disciplined and everybody playing as a family. Everybody just stuck together and played as a team. New people came in and they did what they had to do."
Chris Horsey on dunking coach Manlove after a season-opening win:
"This (Cape) was a Division I team. We did what it took. We played hard."
Laurel running back Jermel Horsey on Coach Manlove:
"We got adjusted to a new system and we had to adjust to it quick. We listened to what he had to say and pulled together as a team. We came out here and just played them hard."
Jermel Horsey on the Bulldogs' ability to adapt to a new coach:
"He's not as hard on us as it's been my last three years. He wasn't all that tough on us. We just came out in that 95-degree weather ... and it was hot ... and did our best."
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