Kani Kane missed the second half of last year’s season finale against A.I. du Pont with an injury. He watched helplessly from the sideline as his teammates surrendered a three-touchdown lead and lost.
“I thought about it all summer,” he said.
On Friday night, he did something about it.
Kane rushed for 232 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries as Sussex Tech defeated A.I. du Pont 47-28 in the season opener for both teams. Xavier Drummond returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter, and Willis Dickerson returned an interception 76 yards for a score in the fourth, bookending a run of 33 consecutive points by the Ravens.
Kane had touchdown runs of 12, 25, 2 and 70 yards, using his speed to turn the corner and brawn to break tackles and bowl down defenders.
“We had guys in position … and he was a very tough load to bring down,” said A.I. du Pont coach Zeb Blum. “He was fast when he got into open space and in between the tackles. Two guys, three guys just couldn’t manage to bring him down. And that’s a credit to how hard he must work in the offseason and the skill he has.”
A.I. quarterback Freddie Heard completed 13 of 20 pass attempts for 224 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He didn’t throw his first incompletion until late in the second quarter and had 201 yards passing at halftime, when Sussex Tech led 22-21, but managed just three completions for 23 yards in the second half.
Sussex Tech (1-0) was called for 11 penalties for 107 yards, including six personal fouls. A.I. du Pont (0-1) was whistled 10 times for 56 yards.
Sussex Tech quarterback Jamont Matthews capped the opening drive of the second half with a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down to stake the Ravens to a 29-21 lead.
Scott Wolk sniffed out an A.I. fake punt on the ensuing drive, intercepting David Matarese and returning the ball 53 yards to the A.I. 5-yard line late in the third quarter. Kane punched it in from the 2 for a 35-21 lead.
After A.I. was forced to punt on its next possession, Kane broke his 70-yard touchdown run to put the Ravens on top 41-21 as time expired in the third.
“He’s a special young man,” Sussex Tech coach Mark Quillin said. “He’s got it all. And he’s the type of kid where over the summer he’s in there training with us. He’s working harder.”
Dickerson sealed the victory with his 76-yard interception return. A.I. outgained Sussex Tech by more than 100 yards in the first half but trailed 22-21 thanks to Drummond’s kickoff return for a TD and the subsequent two-point conversion by Matthews.
Drummond also intercepted Heard in the end zone to preserve Sussex Tech’s one-point lead with 72 seconds left in the first half.
“I just kept my legs moving,” Kane said. “All the squats during the summer – I worked hard during the summer, waiting for this moment, and here it is.”