Dennis Berger may have had a catch for a touchdown just before halftime and an interception in the second quarter for Middletown on Saturday in the Cavaliers’ 29-7 win over William Penn. But he knows he is only one part of a bigger machine.
“Everyone did their job today playing their one-11th,” Berger said. “It was just an all-around good team effort by defense, offense and special teams.”
“Playing their one-11th” is the philosophy Middletown coach Mark DelPercio has espoused to his veteran team.
“It’s a collective effort,” DelPercio said. “I don’t think there’s one or two plays you can [highlight]. There’s 11 guys and we preach about doing your one-11th. They’ve all learned that.”
Behind the strength of that all-around effort, the top-ranked Cavaliers (6-0 overall, 4-0 Flight A) held the up-and-coming Colonials to just one score for the afternoon.
No. 6 William Penn (3-3, 3-1) entered the day on a hot streak after winning three straight Flight A games. But the Cavaliers’ defense stepped up, DelPercio said.
“I can’t give enough credit to the defense and the job from a defensive standpoint that Coach [Zach] Blum and the rest of the guys do with those guys,” DelPercio said. “They assembled a great game plan, and I thought the kids did a great job following through with it. Most importantly, we were getting hats on the ball. That’s a very good football team we played today.”
The day was a learning experience for the young Colonials, said coach Marvin Dooley.
“They’re a great football team, and you can’t make mistakes and we did,” Dooley said. “When we made mistakes, they pounced on them.
“I think you play a good team, and you’re tested. What I learned about my team was we took some body shots and kept going. … You learn a lot about your team when you do that.”
Middletown’s offense got started early when Lasanna Brew capped a 57-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run five minutes into the game.
With 45 seconds remaining in the first half, Berger snagged a 38-yard pass from quarterback Darius Wade to complete an 82-yard drive and give the Cavaliers a 13-0 lead. A two-point conversion run by Brew made it 15-0 at halftime.
Wade caught a pass from wide receiver Chris Godwin for a 75-yard score in the third quarter and threw a 20-yard strike to Godwin for the final score with five minutes remaining in the game.
Colonials’ running back Reggie Carroll scored his 10th touchdown in four games on a 16-yard breakaway in the fourth quarter to avoid the shutout.
In the end, DelPercio said it came down to the Cavaliers meeting the challenge of a team eager to prove itself.
“The thing I just talked to the guys about is that this team brought their best today, and we were able to respond to it,” he said. “We’ve seen that, and that’s what we expect a top football team to do is battle back. We’re going to see adversity and face it and not lose our composure, and we did a great job of that today.”