Justin Hill knows all about the Sussex Tech-Laurel football rivalry.
A resident of Laurel but a student at Sussex Tech, the senior quarterback had all eyes on him from both sides of the field Friday night at the Ravens Nest in Georgetown.
Rushing for two touchdowns and opening up the offense for one through the air, Hill led Tech to a 55-7 rout of the visiting Bulldogs in front of both his hometown and his adoptive community.
“Being a Laurel resident, this is his home school. This is very personal and he handled it extremely well – that’s what I’m most proud of,” Sussex Tech head coach Mark Quillin said. “He treated it like a business trip. He threw the ball well (and) made great decisions.”
Hill was relieved of stress from the opening minutes as he welcomed the Bulldogs onto his field without doing much else than throwing a short pitch off the option. Aided by one of the top lines in the Henlopen, Hill tossed the ball to senior tailback Pat Griffin on the third play of the Ravens first offensive possession for a 75-yard touchdown for the early 7-0 lead.
“Coach is always telling me to go north-south and our o-line did a great job blocking so I got the pitch, saw one block and just followed behind him,” Griffin said.
Laurel showed life on the next possession, only to stall in the red zone and allow Tech a time-eating possession into the second punctuated by a 9-yard touchdown throw to Griffin Dunn out of the slot.
“I feel like we’re a better team when we start throwing it around – rush a couple and it opens up the pass,” Hill said. “When the line is working like ours was we can be very successful.”
Dunn, the Ravens’ backup quarterback, has been seeing snaps thanks to being one of the most athletic and football savvy players on the squad with Quillin stating the junior is deserving of more touches. An injury to Trent Hearn, the usual “go-to,” early in the first gave Dunn the extra touches against the Bulldogs – finishing with a rushing touchdown in the third to go along with his touchdown reception.
Hill would grab another on Tech’s next drive, this time on the ground driving it on the quarterback sneak to make it 21-0.
A short blunder on the ensuing drive gave Laurel its lone touchdown on the next drive, letting the visitors take over on the Ravens 32 due to kicking penalties.
One snap and one cut was all running back Traevon Dixon needed with the best field position in the half for the Bulldogs. Thirty-two yards later, the junior was in the end zone.
“I was concerned about them able to run the football on us because they have a great running game,” Quillin said.
Tech would grab a retaliation touchdown before the half, a 25-yard rush by Griffin, but the night would be highlighted by Hill’s final touchdown of the evening coming out of the locker room.
“At halftime we really saw they were trying to take away the pitch with Pat, they shut it down a couple of times at the end of the first half so I (said to) Justin, ‘if you see an opening go ahead and take it and run,’ ” Quillin said. “I didn’t think it would be the very next play.”
Quillin was worried his starting quarterback would be in unneeded danger on the run only for the senior to make the 75-yard run up the gut unscathed with phenomenal blocking up top.
That blocking would continue to pour on the points with three more touchdowns in the Ravens favor, all on the ground with a rotating staple of backs.
“You always start with the line, the line is the heart of our offense and when we have great backs like Isaiah (Brown), Timaun (Williams) and Pat (Griffin),” Hill said. “Those backs and the line really opened up the passing game (tonight) for me and that’s why all around we were a balanced offense tonight.”
The Ravens head across town to Central in the Battle For Georgetown next Friday in hopes of extended the three-game winning streak while Laurel is in another rivalry matchup as well, hosting Delmar for the Lions Club Trophy.
On Twitter/Instagram: @jmodendhal