50 years later, Middletown-Sallies rivalry just as fierce

50 years later, Middletown-Sallies rivalry just as fierce


50 years later, Middletown-Sallies rivalry just as fierce


Smyrna’s Atkinson inspiring teammates
Smyrna High senior, Colby Atkiinson, who had to give up his athletic career when he was diagnosed with leukemia his freshman year, but now inspires his teammates and his community.
Athlete of the Week: David Bowman
Milford running back scores three touchdowns in 42-13 victory over Conrad
Doc’s #delhs football picks Week 4
It’s raining, it’s pouring … awesome football picks
Athlete of the Week: Gavin Ford
Salesianum junior adds offensive punch to six-time defending state champions
Unified flag football season kicks off
Partnership between DIAA and Special Olympics expands to eight teams, and adds playoffs and a state championship game.
Athlete of the Week: Madelyn Judge
Libero anchors defense for the third-ranked Padua volleyball team
Doc’s HS football picks Week 2
Middletown-William Penn highlight the schedule.
Jon Dorenbos inspires Caravel long snapper
After Jake Reed met Eagles long snapper, Jon Dorenbos, he sent him an email, asking if Dorenbos could work with him on long snapping.
Zachariah Burton signs with Virginia
Defensive back to graduate from William Penn in December, enroll at Virginia in January and participate in spring practice
Salesianum 7, Caravel 0
Top-ranked Sals shut out Buccaneers in early season soccer matchup
Athlete of the Week: Mickey Henry
St. Elizabeth offensive tackle helps Vikings rush for six TDs in win over McKean
Dover coach Rudy Simonetti looks to turn program around
New coach comes from North Jersey to take over Senators in his first high school head coaching job
Doc’s Week 1 #delhs football picks
The mad scientist returns for another season of Delaware gridiron action.
Delaware high school football Div I preseason rankings
Delaware high school football Division I preseason rankings
Delaware high school football Div II preseason rankings
Delaware high school football Division II preseason rankings
Woodbridge favored in Henlopen South
Blue Raiders return much of team that reached Division II semifinals
New Newark coach Barry Zehnder
Newark alum Barry Zehnder reolaces Butch Simpson, who coached the Yellowjackets for 39 years
Ten can’t miss Delaware high school football games
With each of Delaware’s 43 high school football teams about to embark on nine- or 10-game seasons, there will be no shortage of action throughout the fall. Here are 10 games that will capture a lot of interest on each weekend of the season.
4-foot-8 football player relishes hitting
Brandywine High School junior Felicia Perez strives to make an impact
Brad Myers tours the state on the first day of football practice
News Journal high school sports reporter Brad Myers travels the state for the fifth annual Gridiron Tour as he goes from school to school on the first day of football practice in Delaware.
Tatnall football to play night home game
Hornets to bring in temporary lights for Sept. 30 game against Tower Hill.
Coaches prepare for high school football season
Delaware high school football coaches begin preparation for the start of the season on the first day of practice.

The Middletown-Salesianum football rivalry started in 1966 as a tiny farm town taking on the Catholic school giants.

Fifty years later, the Middletown players who had a hand in that 14-13 victory will be honored on the field at Cavaliers Stadium before Friday’s 7:30 p.m. kickoff. Then they will watch the continuation of an annual game that has changed dramatically, but still burns just as hot.

“It goes back three generations,” said Bill DiNardo, who has seen both sides as former coach at Middletown and current coach at Salesianum. “I don’t know if there’s a fiercer rivalry in the state of Delaware.”

Middletown has mushroomed into a city, with enrollments at both Middletown and crosstown rival Appoquinimink among the top dozen high schools in Delaware. So now this rivalry is just two consistently good football teams, producing some of the state’s best games year after year.

“Things have gone back and forth. You have your ups and downs with it,” Cavaliers coach Mark DelPercio said. “We’ve played some great games. They’ve had some runs, we’ve had some runs. It’s been a great battle, not just recently, but over the years.”

Salesianum has had the upper hand lately, winning the last five meetings. That includes 20-6 during the regular season and 27-21 on a last-second, goal-line stand in the semifinals of the DIAA Division I playoffs last year.

But Middletown (4-0), ranked second statewide in Division I, may have the upper hand this time. The Cavaliers have allowed just six points all season, an inconsequential touchdown late in a 43-6 win over Delcastle last week.

“They’re going to come at you from every which way,” DiNardo said of the Cavaliers’ defense. “They’re going to come at you with the intention of disrupting and destroying. They’re really good.”

Middletown’s offense is really good, too. Sophomore Drew Fry has already thrown 17 touchdown passes in his first season as a starter.

“They throw the ball very well. They spread you out, and they are very good offensively,” DiNardo said. “The kid, Fry, he doesn’t act like a sophomore. He acts like his dad was an All-State quarterback and a college quarterback. He’s a very polished kid.”

DiNardo should know. Drew’s father, Dale Fry, was a senior quarterback at Middletown in 1988 — DiNardo’s first year there — and went on to play at the University of Delaware.

The fourth-ranked Sals (3-1) struggled against the pass in a 60-26 loss at top-ranked Smyrna two weeks ago, and the Cavaliers hope to test them with a similar approach.

“Obviously, throwing the football has been one of our strengths this season,” DelPercio said.

But the Salesianum offense has something that concerns DelPercio, and it’s a big something. With guards Zeb Wright (6-foot-2, 305 pounds) and Josh Williams (5-10, 255), tackles Randy Sinnott (6-5, 290) and Dom Marra (6-6, 275) and center Sean Keating (6-2, 265) across the front, the Sals’ offensive line looks like it could be playing at the next level.

“They look like a college offensive line,” DelPercio said. “Not just big, but tall. They’re not fat. They’re 6-foot-4, 280- or 290-pound guys.”

And last week, the Sals added to the battering power by moving Josh Patrick (6-2, 225) from tight end to running back. He responded with eight carries for 105 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-12 victory over Caravel.

“We just felt that he would give us a little extra push,” DiNardo said. “We felt that with an offense that had been inconsistent, he would give us a big body. He’s the fastest kid on the team; he’s the strongest kid on our team.”

DiNardo said the move also kept fellow running backs Nick Merlino and Carson Salvo fresher. And the Sals also have an effective passing game, with junior Zach Gwynn often targeting receiver Michael Drake.

“Their quarterback throws the ball well,” DelPercio said. “He’s got a good arm, he’s got good size. You can’t take their passing game for granted.”

You can’t take anything for granted in a Middletown-Sallies game. The schools have combined for 14 state football championships (seven each), and from 2005-13 they took seven of the nine Division I titles (four for the Sals, three for the Cavaliers).

“This is a big test for us to see where we are, to see how we match up, to see how we respond against a great football team,” DiNardo said. “And I know it’s a great test for them. They haven’t seen anything like us to this point.”

Contact Brad Myers at bmyers@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ.

Don’t miss a thing

Search for The News Journal to get our apps
Download our apps and get alerts for local news, weather, traffic and more. Search “The News Journal” in your app store or use these links from your device: iPhone app | Android app for phone and tablet | iPad app
Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook!

Middletown's Kedrick Whitehead (3) falls on his own fumble for a touchdown during last year's DIAA Division I state semifinal.

Middletown’s Kedrick Whitehead (3) falls on his own fumble for a touchdown during last year’s DIAA Division I state semifinal.


More USA TODAY High School Sports