With 16 seconds left to play in the first half on Friday, the Delmar high football team faced a fourth-and-five situation, 34 yards away from the end zone with no timeouts left.
They could have punted or taken a knee, but they weren’t satisfied with a 28-0 lead over the Indian River Indians. It was time for the Wildcats to go for the kill.
“If we bury them there, we come out in the second half with the clock running,” Delmar head coach David Hearn said. “That play was the backbreaker.”
Shane Leatherbury took the snap on that play and threw a quick slant to junior running back Kavon Trader, who took the pass 34 yards into the end zone to put the Wildcats ahead by 35 points. The second half started with a running clock, and the Wildcats coasted to a 42-6 win over the Indians.
“There was just something different tonight,” Hearn said. “It’s night and day from last week; we did the same stuff all week, everything the coaches asked, we tackled well. We just did everything right.”
While the Wildcats (4-5) did everything right, it was quite the opposite for the Indians (4-5) according to head coach Ray Steele.
“Everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” Steele said. “We weren’t prepared in the beginning and I think we got a little overwhelmed.”
The Wildcats started the game deep into their own territory after they fielded the opening kickoff at their own five yard line, but 95 yards wasn’t too intimidating for the Cats; they marched that distance in 12 plays and capped off the drive with a quarterback sneak for a touchdown by Leatherbury.
“Shane had a good game tonight,” Hearn said. “He didn’t make the big plays, but he threw and distributed the ball well and did what he had to do.”
Leatherbury finished the game with 40 yards on 11 carries, but it was freshman running back Brooks Parker who shined the brightest for the Wildcats. Parker scored the second and third touchdowns for the Cats in the first half on runs of 17 and 54 yards, respectively, while piling up 122 yards on the day with just 10 carries.
“I try to be patient when I get the ball, and when I see the hole I hit as hard as I can,” Brooks said. “The offensive line worked hard, and we practiced hard all week.”
The Indians put a 10-play, 68-yard drive together to open the second half and marched into the Wildcats red-zone for the first time in this game with ease. But on a fourth-and-goal from the two-yard line, the Indians were unable to score as the Wildcats stuffed a run at the line of scrimmage.
“We were trying to get that running clock stopped,” Steele said. “We ran behind the biggest kids we had and we just couldn’t get into the end-zone.”
After a rough start to the season where they lost four straight, the Wildcats have now won four of their last five games and will look to finish the season strong against Woodbridge next week. Parker wants to redeem the early losses of the season and help his team end the season on a good note.
“We just want to work hard in practice this week and come out with a win,” he said. “It’s going to be tough.”