Darius Wade and Chris Godwin have already done it all at Middletown. Back-to-back Division I state championships, All-State honors, Player of the Year awards.
Going into their senior seasons, how can the four-year starters top all of that?
“The only way you can top it is by getting another [state title],” Wade said. “We’re coming out here very focused as a team, making sure we don’t get stale and continue to strive to get better.
“After you win two state championships, it’s easy to be content and say, ‘What we’re doing works.’ But we know that we’ve just got to keep pushing harder.”
It will be difficult to beat what Wade and Godwin achieved last season. Wade was named Delaware’s Offensive Player of the Year after passing for 2,275 yards and 27 touchdowns and rushing for 546 yards and seven scores. Godwin was a first-team All-State selection at three positions after catching 42 passes for 834 yards and 12 touchdowns, rushing for 427 yards and 5 TDs, racking up six sacks and seven tackles for losses at linebacker and returning 10 kickoffs and punts for 501 yards and four scores.
Middletown coach Mark DelPercio has no doubt that his stars will do everything possible to duplicate the 12-0 season the Cavaliers enjoyed a year ago.
“They never stop working, whether it’s the offseason in the weight room, the camps they attend,” DelPercio said. “They have continued to grow every year. … At practice, they are tremendous leaders. They’re always asking questions. They want to get better.”
Both seniors have already decided on their college destinations, and both said that will help them relax and enjoy their final go-round in high school football. Wade has committed to Boston College, while Godwin will make his college receptions at Penn State.
They have sweated together – and separately – over the summer to enhance their games.
“Darius and I work together a lot,” Godwin said. “We’re great friends off the field, and that makes it easier for us when we get on the field. We’re always working on new things. You can’t stay stagnant. You’ve always got to keep improving.”
“I like to pick out some things through self-evaluation in the summer and find what I can do better,” Wade said. “I knew that I need to continue to work on my mobility, continue to work on throwing on the run.”
Wade’s maturity and four years under center will allow the Cavaliers to keep expanding the playbook.
Some of those plays will probably be passes or handoffs to Godwin for long touchdowns.
“He’s worth the price of admission,” DelPercio said of his 6-foot-4, 194-pound receiver. “There’s no doubt about it.”
A quick look at the other teams in Flight A:
A.I. du PONT: The Tigers, 7-3 last year, just missed a Division I playoff spot. They will try to clear that hurdle this year behind WRs Quadree Henderson and Aaron Limberry, LB-FB Jesse Hall and linemen James Garfield and Wesley Jones.
APPOQUINIMINK: The Jaguars, 5-5 in 2012, will shoot for a winning season with QB Shane Anderson, lineman Tre Woodard, TE-DB Jared Balen, FB-WR Danny Livingston and WR-DB Matt Johnson.
WILLIAM PENN: New coach Marvin Dooley is installing a pistol offense as the Colonials try to bounce back from a 4-6 season. WR Deshawn Smith, LB Daniel Crawford, safety Cole Slay and RB Reggie Carroll will lead the way.
CHARTER OF WILMINGTON: The Force, 2-8 last season, will look for improvement behind linemen Barry Moe and Nolan Shannon, LB-WR Ross Kamen, QB Matthew Oliver, CB-RB-WR Nile Jackson-Northrup and S-WR Robbie Johnston.
CONCORD: The Raiders won four of their last five games for a 6-4 finish last year, and will try to keep the momentum going with lineman Zack Zupan, DE-TE Thomas Camper, FB Matt Mellette, HB Brian Dennis and HB Brycen Alleyne.
DELCASTLE: The Cougars will be working to erase last year’s 1-9 mark behind QB-DB Roger Heusner, FB-LB Bruce Miller, RB-LB Warren Underwood, linemen Mike Brady, Quade Gibbs, Mike Simpson and Jafahi Juff, WR-DB Eric Maloney and RB-DB Rashawn Coleman.
GLASGOW: The Dragons improved from 3-7 two years ago to 6-4 last year, and will try to keep progressing with S-WR Marquis Cannon, OT-OLB Raymond Mangold, RB-MLB Kwasi Amponsah and OT-DT Dominique Drewery.
NEWARK: The Yellowjackets will try to bounce back from an uncharacteristic 1-9 season behind the senior leadership of linemen Dutch VanDerhout and Magnus Day, OL-LB Donaven Earl, RB-DB Austin Lockett and RB-WR-DB Keith Stubbs.