Rival Tech, 15-7
Sussex Central 15, Sussex Tech 7
Photos: Sussex Central defensive lineman Layton Wright and running back Will James
The Sussex Central High School football team got a stern test in its Henlopen Conference Northern Division opener.
Jumping out to a 15-0 lead, the Golden Knights held off their determined cross-town rivals to rise to 5-0 overall.
Except for one play, the defense did the job for the Knights.
Tech's Kevin Maull scored on a 57-yard run to cut the Knights' lead to 15-7 with 8:40 remaining in the game.
But the Knight defense held tough after that, as it stopped Tech on two consecutive drives after the Knight offense went three-and-out on two consecutive drives.
Sussex Central went ahead 15-0 in the first quarter on a pair of short touchdown runs by fullback Jamil Young and a two-point conversion run by running back Terron Hall, who led Central with 94 yards on the ground.
From there, however, the Knights committed three turnovers and eight penalties and couldn't find the end zone again. For the game, the Knights fumbled six times, losing three, and were intercepted once.
"The first quarter was great and the second quarter wasn't too bad," said Central head coach John Wells, "but we put the ball on the ground six times and had one pick and lost the ball four times. You just can't do that. When you're up 15-0, that's not the time to get complacent on our part.
"I don't know how much of it was us and how much of it was Tech stepping it up. You have to give Tech credit, too. They've played tough in the second half all year."
Wells does know that the Knights' passing game needs to become more consistent. Standout quarterback David Pusey has gone 3-for-16 in his last two games after throwing for 116 yards and 2 touchdowns in a win over McKean three weeks ago.
"That is a concern," Wells said.
Despite the mistakes, Wells still believes his team is making the progress it needs to make to be ready for tough Henlopen North games down the road.
For one thing, the Knights are off to a start similar to their starts the past three seasons. They started the 2001 season at 5-0, the 2000 season at 7-0, and the 1999 campaign at 8-0.
"It was one of those games that you have to chalk up to a learning experience," said Wells. "I think they'll buckle down because of it."
The Knights ground the Ravens down. Besides Hall, running back Will James rushed for 70 yards, and Young added 65 more.
Defensively, the Knights continue to throttle their opponents. In five games, they have allowed just 35 points for an average of only 7 points a game.
"We felt coming into the season that our defense would be strong and anchor us," said Wells.
Defensive lineman Layton Wright led the defense with 8 tackles including a sack. Young added 7 tackles and 2 assists and middle linebacker Lewis Day recorded 4 tackles.
Central hosts Seaford in a Henlopen North game on Friday, Oct. 11, at 7:30 p.m. Seaford is 2-2 after a heart-breaking 21-19 loss to Cape Henlopen on Friday, Oct. 4.
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