NEWARK — As far as Derek Reigle is concerned, this had all the makings of a great week.
“We’re playing football every day,” the big Polytech High lineman said on Sunday. “We’re eating good food every day. It’s for a good cause. I have no complaints at all.”
But either the Gold or the Blue all-stars will feel even better about their week if they can get a victory in tonight’s 60th annual Blue-Gold All-Star Football Game. Pregame activities start at 6 p.m. with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. in Delaware Stadium in Newark.
The event has raised approximately $6 million for the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with Intellectual disABILITIES.
The Gold, which includes players from the Henlopen Conference, has won four straight games in the series. A fifth victory in a row would give the Gold its longest winning streak in the game’s history.
Furthermore, the Gold has won nine of the last 15 games.
But the Blue still leads the all-time series 30-26-3 and would probably be considered the favorite in tonight’s matchup.
Last year’s state champions, William Penn (Division I) and Hodgson (Division II) have four players each on the Blue roster. Hodgson quarterback Ray Jones, the state Offensive Player of the Year, leads a talented group of offensive players that also includes William Penn running back Reggie Carroll.
Of the 14 seniors who were named first-team All-State in the fall, eight are on the Blue roster.
Still, the Gold counters with players like Lake Forest’s John Flamer, the state Defensive Player of the Year, Sussex Tech running back Kani Kane along with Taronn and Keyjuan Selby of St. Georges, who are both headed for Delaware State.
For Gold head coach Mike Tkach of Milford, this will be his seventh time coaching in the Blue-Gold game.
“One of the things that we always say is, ‘Up into this point in your life, this will probably be the most talented team that you play on,’” Tkach tells his players. “‘But, you’re also going to be playing against the most talented team you’ve played against.’”
“It’s really nice to be able to coach the best in the state,” said Blue head coach Frank Moffett of Hodgson, a Caesar Rodney High grad. “I’m very excited about that. We’ve got a good group of young men. I’m looking forward to competing against Coach Tkach.
“I told the kids earlier, enjoy this moment because this is a lifetime memory. When you’re Blue-Gold, you’re Blue-Gold for life. I love coming back here to be part of this.”
Putting together an offense in just one week isn’t always easy. But the Gold has averaged 31.5 points in its current four-game winning streak.
That came after the Gold scored only seven points or less in three of the four preceeding contests.
The Gold has three quarterbacks on its roster to choose from: Woodbridge’s Logan Wescott, Newark’s Ben Campbell and Delmar’s Shane Leatherbury. Wescott, who is expected to play defense at Delaware State in the fall, threw for 1,252 yards and 12 touchdowns while rushing for 714 yards and eight TDs as a senior.
Likewise, Hodgson’s Jones will play defensive back at Delaware. All he did in his high school career was rush for 74 touchdowns, throw for 43 and score nine more TDs on kick returns or on defense.
A 6-foot-5, 285-pound lineman, Polytech’s Reigle knows his job will be to clear the way for the Gold’s ball carriers. While both teams have plenty of talent, only one side can come away with a victory tonight.
“This is the best team I’ve ever played on,” said Reigle, who is going to try to walk on at Delaware in the fall. “I know they want to win, I want to win. Both teams think they’re going to win.
“I’ve known about the Blue-Gold my whole life,” he added. “It’s like the marquee all-star game in Delaware. When I found out I was picked, I was super stoked — especially representing my school.”
The DFRC named a number of award winners at its awards banquet on Friday night in Dover. Hand-in-Hand (Gold): Erich Schneider and Jack Degnars (Football players from Middletown; Buddy is Sean Burke). …. Hand-in-Hand (Blue) Rachel Nowocin (Cheerleader from Conrad, Buddy is Rebecca Lopez). … Band: Ciara Rice from Delaware Military Academy. … Cheerleaders (Gold) Alexis Roach from Dover. … Cheerleaders (Blue) My’Kelya Dickerson from Archmere. … Ambassadors: Mackenzie Frail and Payton Shetzler from Middletown.