By Jason Bowen
MIDDLETOWN — The Dover High football team defeated a highly-touted tech school for the second straight week by knocking off St. Georges 21-14 on Saturday afternoon.
In a game where most of the big plays were made by either the defenses or special teams on both sides, it was the Dover offense that made a huge play to provide the winning score.
With the game tied at 14-14 and just under four minutes remaining in the game, Dover (2-1) — which topped Hodgson 19-6 last week — faced second-and-long from its 42-yard line.
Senators quarterback Jordan Moran lofted a long arching pass that receiver John Parker was able to run under while draped by a Hawk defender. The over-the-shoulder catch by Parker, just a freshman, covered 58 yards.
“I saw my receiver, John, got behind the safety and just let it loose,” Moran said of the pass. ‘He made a great adjustment on the ball. John’s a great athlete and I know if I throw the ball (his way) nine times out of 10 he’s getting to it.”
To win the game, however, Dover would need one more big play from its defense, which allowed just 179 yards and forced four turnovers.
After the go-ahead score, the Hawks moved all the way to the Dover 12-yard line, going 57 yards in three plays. It took less than a minute against a tiring Senator defense.
But on the next play Senator linebacker Sir William Bauer punched the ball out of Hawk tailback Terry White’s hands. Dover defensive back Tyron Abrams fell on the fumble at the 1-yard line.
“We need to make plays to win games and that was a key area to make them,” Dover coach Chip Knapp said of a Dover unit that came up with two fumble recoveries and a turnover on downs inside their own 10-yard line. “We were just fortunate that way.
“We forced the fumbles, so we were doing what we were taught. We executed and good things happen when we do that. At the end of the game they saw that we were tired and tried to power their run game right at us and it was working. We were missing a couple tackles, but we work on ball stripping every day and that paid off. It’s a testament to our guys that play hard all the way to the end of the game.”
With help of a roughing the kicker punter penalty, the Senators ran out the clock.
“We had a couple unforced errors today,” Knapp said. “We’ve got to clean those up, but our thing is play good defense and take care of the football — not shoot ourselves in the foot. We did a little of that today but if we can be in the game in the fourth quarter we’re going to have a chance to win.”
It was Abrams’ second big fumble recovery of the game. In the second quarter the senior scooped another White fumble in the Senator end zone and raced 86 yards to set up Dover’s second touchdown, a 12-yard pass from Moran to Jakwon Kilby.
“That was a big play for the team,” Abrams said. “It put us up in the game.”
Kilby added 64 rushing yards on 23 carries, while Moran completed 7-of-17 passes for 115 yards.
Abrams appeared to have sealed the game earlier in fourth quarter for the Senators when he picked off Donovan Brooks and returned the pass to the Hawk 25-yard line.
“They saw that I was little guy, so they threw it to my guy and I picked it off,” Abrams said.
“He played with a lot of confidence,” Knapp said of Abrams. “Once he gets in his zone, he really becomes a playmaker.”
But on the next play, a mix up on a handoff between Moran and Kilby allowed St. Georges’ defensive lineman Jamal Bin-Yusif to scoop and score after a 73-yard return. The two-point conversion tied the game at 14 with 7:29 left.
Both teams blocked punts that led to touchdowns. Late in the first quarter Dover blocked a punt that set up a six-play, 26 yard drive. The short march was capped by Moran’s one-yard quarterback sneak.
With St. Georges trailing 14-0 early in the third quarter, Naaman Tucker sparked the comeback with a block that he returned 18 yards for a touchdown. The Hawks’ extra point was blocked.
“The turnover at the goal line was big,” St. Georges coach John Wilson said. “ Give them credit, they made some plays when they had to. I’m really proud of the guys, the way we battled back.”
Next up, the Dover defense will be tested when the Senators host a Cape Henlopen team that despite being 0-3 has been scoring points in bunches. Kickoff has been moved to 5 p.m. on Thursday due to busing issues and Firefly Festival traffic.