Game of the Week
Take Big Step
Photo: Sussex Central's Ben Rogers fakes out a would-be Cape tackler on a punt return during SC's 9-0 win on Friday, Oct. 1, 1999.
GEORGETOWN -- Sussex Central High School football coach John Wells would only call it "one step". But it was a big one.
The Golden Knights ended visiting Cape Henlopen's two-year winning streak in the Henlopen Conference with a 9-0 smash-mouth Northern Division victory over the two-time defending division champions Friday night, Oct. 1, 1999.
The unbeaten Knights' suffocating defense and knack for putting together killer drives at the most opportune moments enabled them to overcome two first-half fumbles to rise to 4-0 overall and remain the only team to have beaten Cape in the conference in the past three years. The Knights also beat Cape in 1997.
Toby Hall's 34-yard field goal with 2.6 seconds left in the first half and a 6-yard touchdown run by fullback Teddy Thompson to cap an 86-yard third quarter drive gave the Knight defense all of the points it would need.
Cape Henlopen (2-2) threatened to close the gap after Thompson's touchdown, but a 12-play drive ended at Sussex Central's 5-yard line when receiver Mark Moore's fumble was recovered by Knight defensive back Blake Hershelman with 7:32 remaining in the game.
That proved to be Cape's last gasp, as the Knights held the ball for the next 6 minutes, running the clock down to the 1:01 mark before surrendering on downs at the Cape 19.
The Knights dominated the game with 289 total yards to Cape's 155. Sussex Central running back Burless Hall ground out 131 of his team's 253 rushing yards.
The Knights won the game despite the loss of standout fullback George Davis to a suspension earlier in the week. Ben Rogers moved from halfback to fullback and gained 67 yards rushing.
:2.6 -- SUSSEX CENTRAL, 3-0
1:29 -- SUSSEX CENTRAL, 9-0
Sussex Central head coach John Wells on the victory:
"This means more because it's a conference victory, but it's just one step. We can't overlook anyone."
Wells on his team's defense:
"We take pride in the fact that we've shut out our opponents for 14 straight quarters, but it's not something we brag about. That will mean nothing next week against Seaford."
Wells on Cape Henlopen:
"You have to give Cape Henlopen a lot of respect. Don't count them out. If you think they're out of it this early in the season, you're crazy. They're still the champions until someone else wins it."
Wells on being the only conference team to beat Cape Henlopen in the past three years:
"Our guys remember beating Cape Henlopen two years ago. They had a lot of confidence from that win."
Sussex Central running back Burless Hall, who finished with 131 yards rushing, on overcoming a first-half fumble deep in Cape territory:
"I was pretty upset with the fumble. Me and Ben (Rogers) are the two senior running backs and the other guys look up to us. In the second half I was just trying to run harder and make first downs."
Wells on Burless Hall, who is still recovering from a serious ankle sprain in a 31-0 win over Indian River on Sept. 17:
"He's a beast."
Cape Henlopen coach Brian Donahue on his team:
"I thought we played hard but we had a lot of penalties. We improved defensively, but it seems like every time we started a drive we shot ourselves in the foot. We're just looking to go back to the basics and keep getting better."
Donahue on Sussex Central:
"Sussex Central's defense did a good job and shut us down. Their offense put some nice drives together and did what it had to do. They're good and young and are going to have a lot of kids back next year."
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