Middletown will be the center of Delaware’s high school football universe on Friday night.
Cavaliers Stadium will be the site of a DIAA Division I semifinal, with fourth-seeded Caesar Rodney (8-3) traveling to take on No. 1 Middletown (9-1) at 7:30. Expect the two-time defending champion Cavaliers to be breathing fire after their 23-game winning streak was halted by Salesianum in the final week of the regular season.
At the same time, top-seeded St. Georges (10-1) will kick off against No. 6 Woodbridge (8-3) in a DIAA Division II semifinal at Appoquinimink High. St. Georges is the home team, but the neutral site is necessary because the Hawks’ stadium doesn’t meet DIAA regulations for visitors’ seating and controlled access.
With the two big games being played just 2.3 miles apart, DIAA is encouraging fans to allow extra time and use Del. 71 north and U.S. 301 south to avoid traffic on Del. 299 in Middletown.
On Saturday, fans will have time to see both games as second-seeded Hodgson (9-2) hosts No. 5 Caravel (8-3) in a Division II semifinal at 11 a.m., and second-seeded Salesianum (9-1) takes on No. 3 Dover (9-2) in a Division I semifinal at Baynard Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for the semifinal games being played at Cavaliers Stadium, Appoquinimink and Hodgson cost $6. Tickets for the game at Baynard Stadium are $7 to cover a higher venue cost. Check with the schools involved to see if advance tickets will be sold this week. Tickets also are available online at http://www.diaa.ticketleap.com, and will be sold at the gate for each game.
Sallies soccer success
Salesianum won its 10th boys soccer state championship in 12 years on Saturday night, erasing an early 1-0 deficit and pushing to a 5-2 victory over Appoquinimink in the first DIAA Division I Tournament. It is difficult to compare from year to year, but on Monday coach Scott Mosier said this group of Sals – with an all-senior starting lineup – may have been his best.
“I would put this team up against any of them to get a result, for sure,” Mosier said. “If you looked for what you want out of a team as far as character, discipline, ability, ability to deal with adversity, this team was more senior-laden, more experienced and more weathered than any team we’ve had here.”
The Sals (17-0-1) were third nationally in last week’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America rankings, with the final rankings set to be released this afternoon.
“The only thing that was difficult to coach with this group is they go hard all the time,” Mosier said. “At training, every practice, the day before a game, they just really have fun and compete and play hard. The hard thing was to pull the reins back at practice, because we wanted to make sure we didn’t have any injuries.”
Appo may be the team to beat next season, as the Jaguars return almost all of a 16-2 team that only lost to Salesianum. But Mosier is looking forward to seeing what an entirely new group can do.
“We have a lot of young players that are looking for an opportunity to play,” Mosier said. “I won’t be crying poor for the players we’ll have. It will be a dropoff from this year, for sure. But we have some guys that we think will do well next year.”
Rounding it up
* A celebration honoring Joe Hemphill’s 42-year career as football coach and athletic director at St. Elizabeth will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 15 at the St. E Center. The public is invited. Former St. E football players or golfers who would like to send a congratulatory message to be included as part of the day should email Michele Kleinhomer at firstname.lastname@example.org by Dec. 6.
* Two former Delaware prep athletes have signed national letters of intent. Former St. Thomas More athlete Rebecca Shipper, now attending The Hill School (Pa.), will play softball at Florida. Former William Penn athlete Isaac Fleming, who now attends Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va., will play basketball at Hawaii.
* Alexa Hendrickson, a 2012 Cape Henlopen graduate, will play for Christopher Newport University in the NCAA Division III field hockey semifinals against Bowdoin College at 11 a.m. Friday in Virginia Beach, Va.
* Indian River’s Sam Izzo is part of the All-Henlopen South second team as a punter. He was inadvertently left off the list distributed last week.