Sometimes, tradition can be a little overrated.
St. Georges has only played six seasons of varsity football. But the Hawks have quickly built a powerful team, and they earned a chance to play for their first state title Friday with a 37-21 victory over Woodbridge in the semifinals of the DIAA Division II Football Tournament at Appoquinimink High.
Taronn Selby rushed for 181 yards, and twin brother Keyjuan Selby added 128 yards as top-seeded St. Georges improved to 11-1. The Hawks will meet the winner of today’s Caravel-Hodgson game at 2 p.m. next Saturday or Sunday at Delaware Stadium. The game day will be determined by the University of Delaware’s NCAA football playoff fate.
“I’m excited. Man, it’s a dream come true,” Taronn Selby said. “We worked hard all summer for this moment, and it’s here now.”
The Hawks rolled out to a 24-0 halftime lead, with Patrick King kicking a 34-yard field goal, each of the Selbys running for a touchdown and Zach Wright tossing a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jiare Hicks with 35.4 seconds left in the half.
St. Georges ran 46 plays while holding Woodbridge (8-4) to just 20 plays and 54 yards in the first two quarters. But the Blue Raiders, who earned the first postseason victory in school history last week against Tower Hill, were far from finished.
Woodbridge started the third quarter with an eight-play, 61-yard drive, capped by Logan Wescott’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Terryon Witkowski. Four plays later, the Blue Raiders’ Anthony Jefferson scooped a fumble and cruised 50 yards to pull Woodbridge within 24-14.
“We’ve got to pull it back together,” St. Georges coach J.D. Maull said, when asked for his message to his team. “The game’s not over. I thought a couple of guys starting putting their heads down, but we were still winning. We just had to keep chopping wood.”
The Hawks chopped away, with Taronn Selby’s 13-yard touchdown run pushing the lead back to 31-14 with 9:50 left. St. Georges forced a Woodbridge punt, and Hicks slipped behind the defense again to pull in Wright’s 21-yard touchdown pass for a 37-14 lead with 8:09 to play.
“A lot of people key on these two fast guys,” Hicks said, pointing toward the Selbys. “They want to put people in [against the run], and then a lot of things open up.”
The Blue Raiders scored on another fumble return, with Ricky Rayford going 42 yards with 4:36 remaining. But St. Georges recovered an onside kick and chewed up the rest of the clock with a nine-play drive.
“Coach told us to keep our heads up,” Keyjuan Selby said. “We can’t get complacent. We’ve got to keep going. Just keep it going.”
The Hawks ran a staggering 71 rushing plays for 403 yards, with fullback Logan Gilbert bruising his way to 90 yards on 16 carries. Woodbridge managed only 120 total yards, as the Blue Raiders completed only 6 of 27 pass attempts.
“It’s been six years of varsity football, and now we’re in the state championship,” Maull said. “That’s a great accomplishment for the kids, past players, the administration, faculty, everything.”