With only 18 schools competing in Division I and 25 in Division II, almost all of the Delaware high school football teams in each division have met at some point.
That fact adds even more spice to Saturday’s Caravel-St. Georges game. Two of the best programs in Division II will clash for the first time at 10:30 a.m. at St. Georges.
“We’ve never played each other before, so it’s really different,” Hawks coach J.D. Maull said. “When we play Hodgson, we know everything about Hodgson. These guys, we really don’t know them. We’ve watched them, but we don’t know them.”
St. Georges (7-1) is ranked second in Division II, its only loss a 24-21 thriller against No. 1 Hodgson on Sept. 28. Caravel (6-2) is ranked third and owns a 14-7 victory over Hodgson in the season opener for both teams on Sept. 7.
The Buccaneers’ losses came to Episcopal Academy (Pa.) and Archbishop Curley (Md.), which have combined to go 16-2 this season. Caravel went 13-0 and won the Division II state title last year, and the Buccaneers currently own a 14-game winning streak against Delaware opponents.
“We’re playing the defending state champion,” Maull said. “I think in the high school football community, people forget that Caravel is the defending state champion. I know [Darnell] Savage isn’t there, but they still have a lot of great players.”
The Buccaneers lost Savage, a speedy running back being recruited by Division I colleges, to a broken femur against Episcopal Academy. But Caravel’s offense is still potent. Derrick Groomes has passed for 726 yards and nine touchdowns, and the balanced ground game is led by Aaron Hudson (570 yards, 5 TDs), Dennis Robinson (373 yards, 5 TDs) and Jake Shriner (296 yards, 6 TDs).
“We do a lot with less,” Buccaneers coach John Reed said. “We have 42 kids, and that’s JV and varsity. That’s how we’re built, and here at Caravel young guys have to step in and play big roles.”
The Hawks’ rushing attack is just as balanced, with Tymiere Griffin (651 yards, 12 TDs) and twin brothers Taronn (646 yards, 11 TDs) and Keyjuan Selby (421 yards, 8 TDs) each averaging at least 6.3 yards per carry.
“They have some great athletes over there,” Reed said. “They’re very shifty, and they can make big plays. We’ve got to contain them.”
With both teams used to being successful on offense, the defenses may decide it. Linebacker Matt Boyland leads the charge for Caravel, while end Jiare Hicks and 315-pound tackle Tyler Odrick create havoc for St. Georges.
“A lot of people look at the skill players, but it’s going to come down to the offensive line and defensive line for both teams,” Maull said. “I really think it’s going to come down to who can win the line of scrimmage. Whoever wins that will win the game.”