Concord running backs Matthew Mellette, Brycen Alleyne and Brian Dennis had the path laid out for them by their offensive line against A.I. du Pont in a Blue Hen Flight A matchup on Friday night. All they had to do was follow it.
And follow it they did – to the tune of a combined 350-plus yards rushing and four touchdowns as the ninth-ranked Raiders cast a pall over the Tigers’ homecoming festivities with a 34-11 win.
“We just followed our blocks and shared the load,” Dennis said. “If one of us scored, all of us scored. There’s no selfishness here.”
Dennis’ 25-yard touchdown run with less than six minutes remaining in the game capped the scoring for the Raiders (4-4 overall, 4-2 Flight A).
Concord didn’t have to resort to a passing attack against the Tigers (4-4, 3-3) because of the success of the ground game.
“They’re not big … but our little guys run hard, they block for each other, they do everything they can,” Concord coach George Kosanovich said of his running-back trio. “Pound-for-pound, they’re as tough as anybody.”
For the Raiders’ offensive line, it’s all about opening up the holes, said tackle Zach Zupan.
“We just block hard, we stay low and we stay on our blocks,” Zupan said. “We just keep pushing, keep pushing. We’ve got these little backs, and they’re going to take it all the way.”
Concord started quickly, going 60 yards in 10 plays on the first offensive series of the night. The drive culminated with Mellette’s 1-yard touchdown run.
The Tigers got on the board with just over four minutes remaining in the first half, when Kyle Phillips concluded a 14-play drive with a 25-yard field goal to make it 7-3 Concord. Freddie Heard was 3 for 4 passing for 30 yards during the series and Aaron Limberry added 14 yards rushing as the Tigers went into halftime trailing 7-3.
But Concord opened up the offense in the second half, as Alleyne had 70 of his 97 yards in the second half – highlighted by a 60-yard touchdown run with less than two minutes to go in the third quarter.
“I was just trying to run to their weak side,” Alleyne said. “I know our O-line was going to get the blocks. I just needed to find the opening and take it.”
Mellette – who topped 100 yards rushing in the second half alone – scored his second touchdown of the night on a 21-yard breakaway in the fourth quarter, and Thomas Camper added a defensive touchdown after recovering a fumble caused by Concord’s Justin Dixon.
“It was a little difficult in the beginning, but our line came through making big holes so we just rushed it in there,” Mellette said.
Heard scored the eighth-ranked Tigers’ only touchdown of the night on a 9-yard run with five and a half minutes remaining.
After the Raiders opened the season with losses to Salesianum, Middletown and Dover and Kosanovich said every game became a must-win if the team hopes to make the playoffs.
“Last week was very important, but this is even more important because if we don’t go 6-4 we have no chance,” Kosanovich said. “At 6-4, things are still going to have to break our way with other people winning and losing. … Every game is [like playoff game] and so will the last two be. And if it breaks for us and we get in, we’ll be willing to play anybody.”