The Middletown football team will practice at 9 a.m. Thursday, something that would normally elicit groans instead of cheers.
In the world of high school football, however, practicing on Thanksgiving is a blessing.
“It means you’re playing for the state title,” Cavaliers coach Mark DelPercio told his team Friday night.
Middletown cruised through its Division I semifinal matchup with Caesar Rodney on Friday, thumping the visiting Riders 43-22 to advance to the program’s fourth straight title game appearance. They will play for their third straight title next weekend against the winner of tonight’s contest between Dover and Salesianum.
DelPercio danced before speaking to the team postgame, joking afterward he was going to tryout for “Dancing with the Stars.” The emotion is understandable considering the circumstances.
“It’s surreal right now,” Middletown senior quarterback Darius Wade said of the game. “[DelPercio] was killing it [dancing].”
And on Friday, it was Wade’s world.
The senior quarterback did everything for the Cavaliers, powering the potent offense to 29 first-half points en route to the blowout. The fourth-seeded Riders, who finish their season 8-4, never had an answer for Wade, a Boston College commit.
“The sky’s the limit for that guy,” DelPercio said. “He’s a special young man. Playing Friday nights in Middletown, and I think he’ll be playing on Saturdays next year on TV.”
Wade rushed for two touchdowns, threw for four more and even picked off a pass on defense. The lefty’s performance evoked memories of Michael Vick in his prime.
Wade, along with Penn State commitment Chris Godwin, anchor a senior class that has played in the state title each year they’ve played varsity football, an incredible feat, to say the least.
“It’s crazy to think about,” Wade said. “So many people, they wish to be in this position. This never really happens. To have it happen for us … it’s just a great experience.”
Late in the game, Godwin appeared to be injured, sending a hush over the crowd as trainers carried him off the field. It ended up being only a cramp, and he returned to the game.
“Best news I got all night,” DelPercio said.
Wade accounted for all four Cavalier touchdowns in the first half, as Middletown seemed poised for a blowout win early. After falling behind 7-0, they scored four straight times to go up 29-7 with 7:55 left in the half.
Wade and company failed to capitalize on a first-and-goal from the Rider 8-yard line, however, and Caesar Rodney took advantage. The Riders went 95 yards in nine plays to pull within 15 at halftime. Alexander Kemp found Naquan Watkins on a screen pass for a 38-yard touchdown to culminate the march.