By Jack Ireland
Irish Jack has a couple surpise choices and predicts that all four Division I and II state football tournament first round games will be very competitive. this week. All four could be decided by a TD or less.
Here’s a quick look at the four games.
Tonight in Division I
Salesianum(7-3) at Sussex Centra (7-3), 7:30. Whose will will break first.
Both teams like to run, run and run the football some more. Sallies coach Bill DiNardo needs to open up his passing game and has the player to do it with 6-foot-3 quarterback Troy Reeder. Sals can’t let Sussex put eight and nine in the box to stop the run. Reeder is a strong runner, but has a good arm. Sals underrated receivers include Jesse June and tight end Dave Lazear
Both teams coming off tough late season losses. Central lost 47-17 to arch-rival and unbeaten Indian River after leading 10-7 at half.
Sals let 17-7 lead get away in the final minutes in loss to arch-rival St. Mark’s last Friday at Baynard Stadium.
Sussex has quick, strong rnning game, featuring Mr. Everything Deshawn Sals defense, led by end Brian O’Neill, and linebackers Sean Riley and Reeder cannot loose sight of him at any time.Sals have good offensive line and rushing attack with Jerome Stanley, Daulton Gregory and Pat Knox. Sals in a close one. Could be field goal or less.
Salesianum 24-Sussex 21.
Delmar (9-1) at Caravel (10-0), 7:30
I could play it safe and go with the unbeaten Bucs on their hom field, but I like veteran Delmar coach David Hearn and his kids in a big tournament game.
That means watch out for the likes of rushers Frank Braham, Javon Smiley and and Devene Spence. Caravel counters with a complete team on both sides of the ball.,The running attack usually means stopping Chris Wickes and Aaron Baunchalk. Aaron Hudson isn’t bad either.
Delmar’s defense, featuring linebacker Cory Mattox will be severely tested. Delmar 34-31.
William Penn (6-4) at Dover (7-3), 7:30
I like William Penn in the upset. Colonials opened 0-4 and now ride a six game win streak into the tourney. Included in those six wins was a stunning upset of then unbeaten Middletown on the road. Halfback Shareif Simpson is dangerous running from scrimmage and returning kicks.
Dover can score points in bunches and blow open the game with its speed and skill players on both sides of the ball. William Penn must try and slow down receiver Jordan Robinson and quarterback Nate Spadafino.
William Penn 26-21
Howard (9-1) at Archmere (9-1), 10:30 a.m. – Howard has speed and a dangerous offense, led by quarterback BJ Wright and running back Tyrone Burton.
However, the Auks are on a mission after reaching Division II final last year and getting blasted by St. Elizabeth.
Quarterback David McCaae is hot. He ran for two touchdowns and passed for three more in emotional 49-7 win over St. E in last week’s regular season finale. Center Charles Witsil and guard Brian Murphy head up a very underrated Auks offensive line.
State socer championship game
Salesianum (17-1-1) vs St. Mark’s (16-2) at Caravel, 7:30
Spartans are riding a crest of momentum after Jeffrey Richards’ gosl in overtime, beat Concord and sent the Spartans to their first title game in 10 years.
St. Mark’s is capable of winning it all, but Sallies has talent, speed, experience and determination. it won’t be easy, but coach Scpott Mosier’s club gets it done. Forward Moja Hale andAdam Wissner starred in 2-0 semifinal win over Archmere. Who knows which player or players steps up big in crunch time Saturday. Salesianum 3-2.
Kudos to McKenna and Sallies runners- recording 35th overall CC state title
Matt McKenna won the individual title, sparking Salesianum to its fourth straight Division I cross country championship on Nov. 12 at Killens Pond in Felton.
McKenna finished third in state meet as a sophomore and second last year. There was no stopping him this year as he won in15 minutes and 58 seconds. He got some big help from his teammates as Scott Davis was fourth, Matthias Arauco-Shapiro took sixth and Pat Halley (seventh). Sallies did all this without 2010 Division I champ Tommy Zabielski sidelined with an achilles injury.
Even more impressive, Salesianum won its 35th state cross country title in the last 43 years. That is by far the most dominant effort by one school in any Delaware sport. Just unbelievable. Only eight times in 43 years Salesianum failed to win the Division I state crown.
In Division II boys, Tatnall’s Sam Parsons smashed the Killens Pond state record with a winning time of 15:34.73. It was Tatnall’s third straight crown. Hats off to Charter (Division I champs) and Tatnall (Division II) in the girls divisions. Dominant effort all around by Tatnall in Division II.