Following his team’s Blue Hen Flight A game Saturday against Concord, Middletown coach Mark DelPercio stressed that this season’s Cavaliers are different from his state championship squads.
“It doesn’t matter what the season was – to me, we’re not the defending state champions because this is a different group of guys,” DelPercio said. “Last year’s team won a championship, not this year’s team.”
While that might be true and new contributors were prominent in Saturday’s game, two BCS-program-committed constants are still on the roster and made impact plays against the Raiders.
Senior quarterback Darius Wade passed for two touchdowns, scored on special teams and made a touchdown-saving tackle on special teams. Senior split end/safety Chris Godwin scored one touchdown and set up another with a pass in the Cavaliers’ 35-8 season-opening victory over Concord.
“It felt great,” said Wade, who was 12 of 16 passing for 216 yards and two touchdowns Saturday. “This is now my last first game as a high school football player – it’s definitely a little touching and a little sad, but it was a great experience. I’ve got a lot of great teammates to work with.”
More than any player, Wade, who is committed to Boston College, embodied that the 2013 Cavaliers, ranked No. 1 in Division I, are a different yet still dangerous team this fall.
A year after guiding an explosive no-huddle offense, Wade led a group that went into the huddle before almost every play Saturday. The result was a more grinding attack than last season’s big-play offense that graduated running back Jamar Baynard and wide receiver Tommy Davis. But it was a unit that still scored three touchdowns.
Wade and Godwin, who is committed to Penn State, also both contributed big plays in ways they are unaccustomed.
Godwin connected on a 31-yard split-end-pass to Garrett Maniatis on a third-and-15 that set up a 1-yard Khalil Williams touchdown run to put Middletown ahead 14-8 at halftime. And while No. 7 Concord effectively kept the ball away from the dynamic Godwin on special teams, Wade made a pair of huge plays. He returned a blocked punt 47 yards for a touchdown to put the Cavaliers up 28-8 in the fourth quarter, then made a touchdown-saving tackle on the ensuing kickoff.
But it was more than just the returning stars who helped lead Middletown to Saturday’s victory. Justin Thompson blocked the punt and sprung Wade for a touchdown with a key block and had a pair of interceptions. Dennis Berger returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter that gave the Cavaliers a 21-8 lead.
While the Raiders were damaged by some big plays Saturday, Concord coach George Kosanovich said he could take some positives from his team’s season opener.
“We did a lot of good things, but we were not consistent,” he said. “The bottom line is we just gave them way too much.”