None of Tower Hill’s football players was alive the last time the Hillers went undefeated. It’s safe to say many of their parents weren’t around, either.
Tower Hill’s last perfect regular season came in 1959. But this year’s Hillers are 8-0, with home games remaining against Dickinson (2-6) tonight and Wilmington Friends (3-4) next Friday.
“It’s a special group, and they’ve been working hard,” Tower Hill coach Kevin Waesco said. “I’m not really sure I can point to one thing. We’ve been lucky that we’ve been able to manage some injuries and have some younger guys step in when the opportunity presents itself.”
Tower Hill has played only one team with a winning record, and its eight opponents have a combined record of 18-37. But the Hillers, ranked fifth in Division II, own a 28-8 victory over No. 7 Delaware Military Academy (5-3). They returned many experienced players from teams that went 7-3 the last two years.
“We’ve got a big 11th-grade class and a big 12th-grade class,” Waesco said. “To be honest, we’ve got quite a few 10th-graders that might have been playing more on some of our teams in the past.”
Tower Hill’s single-wing attack spreads the fun around, as 11 different players have scored touchdowns this season. Matt Smith has run for eight scores and passed for eight TDs – four to 6-foot-5 receiver Peter Smith. Sam Murphy has rushed for eight touchdowns, and Jermaine Knotts has scored five times on the ground and twice through the air.
The Hillers could become the first Independent Conference team to reach the Division II playoffs since Friends in 2008. But the Quakers are 2-0 in the conference, just like Tower Hill, so next week’s game will be for the Independent title. The last three Tower Hill-Friends games have been decided by a total of five points.
Spartans find a finale
A season-long search has finally resulted in a 10th game for the St. Mark’s football team. The Spartans will travel to Oxford Area (Pa.) at 7 p.m. Thursday to close out the regular season. The game will be played at Nottingham School, 736 Garfield Street in Oxford.
St. Mark’s (5-3) boosted its Division I playoff hopes dramatically with a 19-17 victory at Caesar Rodney last week. The Spartans will be a heavy favorite against St. Elizabeth (2-5) tonight.
Oxford Area did not make the state playoffs in Pennsylvania, but the Hornets are 7-2 going into tonight’s game at Unionville and defeated Newark 14-7 on Sept. 6. Senior quarterback Ethan Herb has passed for 1,528 yards and 16 TDs.
“It puts our [playoff] fate in our own hands,” St. Mark’s coach John Wilson said. “We don’t have to sit back, week 10, and wonder, ‘Is this team going to win? Is this team going to lose?’ I think I’ve calculated it right, and if we win out, we’re in.”
Rounding it up
* Cross country’s championship season is in full swing, with two big meets on Saturday. The New Castle County Championship will be held at Winterthur, with the girls varsity race at 3:30 and the boys at 4. The Henlopen Conference Championship will be held at Killens Pond State Park, with the varsity boys starting at 3 followed by the girls at 3:30. There will be a $4 parking charge at Killens Pond, which also will host the DIAA Cross Country Championships on Nov. 9.
* Northern Division champion Caesar Rodney will meet Southern Division winner Indian River in the Henlopen Conference boys soccer championship game at 6 p.m. Saturday at Milford. Admission is $5.
* St. Mark’s senior Abbie Mirabella finished the regular season with a huge effort Monday, scoring 40 kills and 24 digs in a 3-2 volleyball victory over Ursuline. The fourth-seeded Spartans (12-3) will host No. 13 Cape Henlopen (11-4) in the first round of the state tournament at 6 p.m. Saturday.
* The Brandywine field hockey team raised $155 for breast cancer awareness at its Oct. 23 game vs. Newark.