DOVER — It’s not like Chip Knapp hasn’t had his share of coaching wins before.
But like any coach, you’re never sure that the next victory is going to happen until it does.
And the former Wesley College coach was pretty satisfied to see his Dover High players give him his first victory as their coach.
The Senators scored on their first three possessions to take control early before downing Hodgson, 19-6, in a non-conference matchup on Friday night.
Bouncing back from a one-point, overtime loss in its season opener, Dover (1-1) got a pair of touchdown catches from senior tight Elijah Sessoms while its defense silenced the Silver Eagles until a last-minute touchdown.
“There’s kind of a sense of relief to get that win,” said Knapp. “Coming into the season, being a high school coach for the first time, there’s a lot of unknowns. You wonder if what you’ve done before is going to translate to what we’re doing here in high school.
“I think it is and the win tonight kind of proved that.”
Sessoms pulled in five passes from quarterback Jordan Moran for 109 yards. After falling at Arundel, Md., 28-27, in OT last Friday, he said he and his teammates had plenty of motivation to get a win.
“It feels great,” said Sessoms. “I have a great team around me. The last game was a tough, hard-fought loss. We just came together and got the win.
“Coming in this week we had to fix a lot of mistakes. We had to do a lot of things differently. We just came out ready to play, with that hunger to win.”
On his first TD, Sessoms looked like he’d be tackled at the Silver Eagles’ 25 after a 15-yard gain. But he spun away from two defenders and found nothing but clear sailing for a 40-yard scoring play.
“In my mind, whenever I get the ball, I just can’t go down,” said Sessoms. “Whatever I do, I just can’t go down. As soon as they let me go and I saw the open field, I just took off.”
On the next drive, Moran found Sessoms running down the seam. The senior made a one-hand grab and — when the Hodgson defender went for the ball — sprinted away for a 43-yard touchdown catch.
“Honestly, it just fell into my hands,” said Sessoms. “Jordan put it where I could get it.”
“I just realized the first touchdown of his career was last week,” said Knapp. “I was surprised at that. We’ve been talking that he’s a man among boys. He played like that tonight and we’re real proud of him and the progress he’s making as a football player.”
Dover out-gained Hodgson, 205 yards to 22 in the first half as it went into intermission holding a 16-0 advantage.
Dover looked sharp right from the beginning on Friday when senior Ethan Roth intercepted a deep pass to end Hodgson’s first possession. The turnover started a 10-play, 53-yard march that finished with Brandon Yoder’s 19-yard field goal.
Moran completed 13-of-19 passes for 188 yards, sophomore Jakwon Kilby ran for 131 yards on 19 carries and Yoder kicked a pair of field goals.
The Senators finished with an advantage of 346-148 in total yards. Of Hodgson’s 148 yards, 75 came on its final drive.
“I feel real confident in the scheme that we have (on defense),” said Knapp. “The guys know what they’re doing and that’s a big part of the battle. They’re aggressive and they’ve been tackling well.”
As much as anything, Dover won because it didn’t make many mistakes. It didn’t have any turnovers and only committed a limited number of penalties.
“We talked about that in the pre-game and we said, if we do that, we’re going to win,” said Knapp. “That’s what we did. I’m real proud of our guys for executing the game plan.”
The contest started about 20 minutes late after Hodgson got stuck in traffic driving south from Newark. ... Dover returns to action with a noon game at St. Georges on Saturday. The Hawks open their season today by hosting CR at noon.