Eagles top Dover 34-13 to capture first Class 3A, District II title

By Andy Walter
Posted 10/22/21

SMYRNA — No matter what they’re calling it these days, it’s still basically the Henlopen North.

And, just as it has been for many of the past seven seasons, the top team in the …

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Eagles top Dover 34-13 to capture first Class 3A, District II title

Posted

SMYRNA — No matter what they’re calling it these days, it’s still basically the Henlopen North.

And, just as it has been for many of the past seven seasons, the top team in the division is still Smyrna High.

The Eagles scored 20 unanswered first-half points before going onto a 34-13 victory over Dover and capturing the title in the first-year Class 3A, District II on Smyrna’s Homecoming Friday night.

Senior running back Wayne Knight — who was named homecoming king at halftime — scored the three first-half touchdowns before adding a fourth TD late in the contest as the Eagles (5-2 overall) improved to 3-0 in District II, which is made up of five Henlopen North schools. Smyrna closes the regular season with a District II matchup against Cape Henlopen.

Knight, who didn’t get to put on his crown until after the game, laughed when asked if he was more excited by the honor or for scoring four touchdowns.

“I’m just trying to win a game,” said Knight, who ran for 161 yards on 16 carries. “It (winning the district) is a big accomplishment but we’ve still got a lot of things to work on.

“They’ve got a lot of heart, a lot of good talent over there,” he said about Dover. “They fought until the end.”

The Senators made it a game in the second half after trailing 20-0 at intermission.

With Smyrna in its run-oriented earthquake formation, Dover linebacker Ethan Roth intercepted a Knight pass close to the line of scrimmage and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. The play suddenly pulled the Senators within 20-13 with 8:20 still remaining in the game.

Smyrna, though, answered with a quick four-play, 48-yard scoring drive to take control again.

Quarterback Cameron Edge threw a 30-yard dart to Devin DeMoe for a touchdown. Knight’s two-point conversion stretched the Eagles’ lead to 28-13 with 6:05 left. 

Edge completed 13-of-23 passes for 152 yards with two TDs and an interception while DeMoe caught four passes for 85 yards.

Knight then capped off his big day by breaking away for a 40-yard touchdown run with 3:22 left as the Eagles’ advantage grew to 34-13.

“The offense responded when it needed to respond,” said Smyrna coach Mike Judy. “I thought the defense played really well. There were a lot of bright spots.

“But there were too many flags. It was too sloppy. It kind of tarnishes it.”

Dover (3-1 District II, 5-3 overall) started the second half with its best drive of the night. The Senators marched 68 yards on 12 plays — nine of them running plays — with sophomore Jakwon Kilby going outside to score on a 10-yard run.

The drive ate up 6:21 but pulled Dover within 20-7.

The Senators then forced a Smyrna punt to get a chance to close the gap even more. The Eagles, though, stopped the ensuing drive after one first down.

Kilby, a sophomore, ran for 106 yards on 22 carries while quarterback Jordan Moran completed 13-of-33 passes for 139 yards with an interception. Freshman Brian Parker had seven catches for 63 yards with senior tight end Elijah Sessoms adding 45 yards on four receptions.

The Senators' last-gasp drive in the fourth quarter ended when Smyrna's Kevin Woodruff intercepted  a deep pass down the middle.

Smyrna got on the board first midway through the first quarter when Edge — who was under pressure — was able to lob a short pass to Knight, who turned into a five-yard scoring pass. The play was set up a 41-yard pass from Edge to DeMoe to the Dover seven.

Three minutes later, Knight got his second TD, this time bouncing outside to score on a nine-yard run. The Senators stopped Smyrna’s two-point conversion try for the second time, leaving the Eagles with a 12-0 lead.

Dover did answer with a solid drive, getting as far as the Smyrna 10 after converting on a fourth-and-nine. But a fumble on a strip sack cost the Senators 11 yards and they ended up throwing a couple incompletions into the end zone from the 21.

Knight then added his third touchdown of the first half on a 35-yard scoring run in the second quarter. Knight fought his way to the sidelines before manging to stay inbounds as he finished the scoring run down the sidelines.

Yamir Knight’s two-point conversion run pushed the Eagles’ lead to 20-0 with 4:23 left before halftime.

The Eagles came into the matchup having won five of the last six meetings with the Senators. Smyrna had an open date last weekend to get ready for this game.

Dover hosts William Penn next Friday night in another important Class 3A matchup. While all 11 Class 3A programs will make the DIAA state tournament, the top five will receive first-round byes.

Smyrna goes to Wilmington for a big game with Salesianum on Friday night.

Extra points

Tyir Trott had an interception for Dover while Roth recovered a fumble. ... Former Dover head coach Rudy Simonetti got to face his old team as a Smyrna assistant coach. ... Former Smyrna basketball standout Betnijah Laney, who now plays in the WNBA, was on hand for the pre-game coin toss ... This was the second-straight year that Smyrna hosted its game with Dover. ... For the first time, Smyrna had a giant inflatable eagle in the end zone for the team to run through before the contest.