Defensive back Trey Austin had no interceptions through Middletown’s first five games.
Now, through six games, he has five.
“His average just jumped right up, didn’t it?” Middletown coach Mark DelPercio said Monday.
The Cavaliers were still buzzing over Austin’s five-interception night in a 42-0 victory over A.I. du Pont on Friday.
“I wasn’t thinking about it,” Austin said. “But everybody was saying, ‘That’s one. That’s two.’ I was like, ‘I’m just going to keep playing, stick to the game plan, and if the ball comes my way just make a play on the ball.”
Austin started by jumping two slant routes for diving picks. When the Tigers went deep, he was there to make two more leaping snags – all in the first half. He got the final interception close to the end zone to help preserve the shutout in the second half.
“In 29 years of coaching, I’ve never seen five interceptions,” DelPercio said. “… It was kind of a mix. There was an incredibly athletic, acrobatic interception. There was one that came off a tipped pass. He had a little bit of everything in there. He was in the right place at the right time.”
“He’s just done a tremendous job for us,” DelPercio said of the 5-foot-11, 173-pound senior. “I’m really proud of him.”
Austin spent his first two years of high school at Eastern Christian Academy in Elkton, Md. He transferred to Middletown last year, but was not eligible to play football. He still practiced with the team all season, working with defensive backs coach David Lockwood to improve his coverage techniques.
“It was real tough,” Austin said. “When you love the game, and you see everybody making plays out there on the field, you just wish you could be out there playing with your friends and enjoying the game with them.”
He certainly enjoyed himself Friday night.
Then, the next day, safety Robert Shorts picked off four passes for St. Georges in the Hawks’ 12-7 victory at Hodgson.
“I was just getting my reads,” Shorts said. “[The quarterback] was staring down receivers, and I was just making plays on the ball. That’s the best I could do.”
Shorts, who also plays quarterback, ended the Silver Eagles’ first drive with a pick at the Hawks 22.
“It was a slant, and he was looking at the receiver,” Shorts said. “I just dove for it and came up with it.”
With Hodgson leading 7-6, Shorts ended another promising drive with an interception at the Hawks 28 early in the second quarter. Then he stepped in front of throws on the Silver Eagles’ first two possessions of the second half to help keep Hodgson off the board until the Hawks could score the winning points on Craig Congo’s 40-yard touchdown run with 3:14 left in the game.
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, the national record for interceptions in a single game is nine, by Ken Golin of Broome (S.C.) in 1981. There are no reliable historical records for Delaware high school football.
Concord running back Grahm “Bam” Roberts left last Saturday night’s game against Salesianum with an ankle injury late in the first half, forcing the Raiders to make some on-the-fly adjustments in what became a 27-0 loss.
Roberts, one of the state’s top offensive threats, finished with only six carries for 8 yards. And now Concord (5-1), ranked fifth statewide in Division I, faces a key Blue Hen Flight A home game against fourth-ranked William Penn (5-1) at 10:30 a.m. this Saturday.
“I don’t know,” Raiders coach Greg Mitchell said Monday, when asked if Roberts would be able to play against the Colonials. “It doesn’t look good today. He’s probably 50-50 at best.”
Concord is tied with second-ranked Middletown atop Flight A at 4-0. After William Penn, the Raiders have three conference games remaining – vs. Charter of Wilmington, Delcastle and Middletown – before the Division I playoffs begin. So some time off to allow Roberts’ injury to heal may be the best course of action.
“He’s walking. He’s just limping,” Mitchell said. “But he would have to have a pretty good recovery in the next couple of days. And I’ve got to look at the big picture, too, because we’re still in a good place.”
Holiday hoops at Howard
Howard High will play host to the inaugural Lady Wildcats Showcase on Jan. 16, 2017 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The event will feature five girls basketball games, starting with an all-Pennsylvania matchup of Chester vs. Upper Darby at 10 a.m. Benjamin Banneker (N.Y.) will take on Seaford at noon, followed by Concord vs. St. Thomas More at 2 p.m. Sanford will meet Brooklyn Community Arts and Media (N.Y.) at 4, with Howard wrapping it up against Delcastle at 6.
Concord boys coach Ralph Flowers plans to continue the annual Concord Classic on the same day, matching some of Delaware’s top boys teams against regional opponents. So there will an abundance of holiday hoops.
Rounding it up
— Something will have to give at 4 p.m. Tuesday when two of the state’s top field hockey teams meet in a Henlopen South battle. Fourth-ranked Milford (9-0), which has outscored its opponents 42-4, will play host to No. 2 Delmar (10-0), which has outscored its opponents 69-3.
— A couple of volleyball players reached milestones over the weekend. Delaware Military Academy senior Sydney Fulton notched her 2,000th career assist for the Seahawks on Saturday. Senior Kaylie Leclerc earned her 1,000th career assist for top-ranked Archmere on Friday.
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ