With Delaware Military Academy running the ball so effectively, Tatnall’s defense had to go all out to try to stop it.
That left room in the secondary, and Sean O’Brian took advantage. DMA’s junior quarterback only threw three passes on Saturday, but all three went for touchdowns as the Seahawks scored a 42-12 victory at Weymouth Field.
DMA (5-1), ranked fifth in Division II, led only 14-6 at halftime against the scrappy Hornets (2-4). But the offensive line of Michael Falasca, Andrew Allison, Joseph Aviola, Ryan Seeling, Nathaniel Saunders and tight end Juwan Morrow bulldozed Tatnall for 181 yards rushing on just 14 carries in the second half, a 12.9-yard average.
“We’ve got a great running game,” O’Brian said. “Our line is dominant this year. … Our physicality was not able to be matched. We really took it to them today.”
With Tatnall pinched in to stop the run on a fourth-and-4, O’Brian floated an 11-yard pass to wide-open tight end Tyler Hill for a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Hornets came right back on Donovan May’s 87-yard kickoff return to make it 7-6.
A 42-yard punt return by Garrett Stryzs set up the Seahawks at the Tatnall 42 with 1:40 left in the half. Three plays later, O’Brian went deep to Tyler Lewis, who used his 6-foot-2 frame to outleap a Tatnall defender for a 38-yard touchdown pass.
DMA received the second-half kickoff and went into smashmouth mode, grinding 67 yards in six plays – all runs by Shawn Brown. After running to the right five straight times, the senior cut to the left for a 31-yard scoring run and a 21-6 lead.
“For us to come out on the first drive like that, it picked up the momentum for us,” Brown said. “It gave us more heart and more adrenaline to keep moving and shut this team down.”
Brown ripped off a 28-yard burst before Kyle Sulecki cruised the final 21 yards to push the DMA lead to 28-6 with 4:25 left in the third quarter. But Tatnall’s dynamic duo hooked up two plays later, as quarterback Joe Cooper found May for an easy 65-yard touchdown.
DMA started to wear down the Hornets in the fourth quarter, as Hill returned a punt 37 yards and Brown went untouched around right end for a 43-yard touchdown on the next play. O’Brian passed to Hill for a 31-yard score with 2:54 left.
“We’re pretty vanilla,” DMA coach Joe Aviola said. “But we do run the ball well, and we pick our opportunities when we are going to throw. … We do have talent at our split end, our slot and our tight end.”
Brown finished with 16 carries for 161 yards, while Sulecki added 80 yards on seven carries. The DMA defense held Tatnall to 54 yards rushing, but Cooper completed 8 of 13 passes for 164 yards.