When the Middletown football team enters Bill Cole Stadium at 1 p.m. Saturday, William Penn coach Marvin Dooley knows what the Cavaliers will be after.
“The last two years, we’ve won the conference title from them,” Dooley said. “Make no mistake about it, they’re coming here to get their trophy back.”
It’s hard to imagine the Blue Hen Flight A championship could be on the line in the second week of the season, but this could ultimately be the game that decides it. And both teams know it.
“This is a big game, and it’s Week 2,” Middletown coach Mark DelPercio said. “When you’re playing your conference opener against the team that’s won the conference the last two years, it’s a big game.”
William Penn owns a 20-game Flight A winning streak, 21 if you the count a 42-14 victory over the Cavaliers in the 2014 DIAA Division I championship game. The last Flight A team to beat the Colonials: Middletown, 29-7 on Oct. 12, 2013.
Both teams are 1-0, but the sixth-ranked Colonials and third-ranked Cavaliers played dramatically different games last week. William Penn needed a 10-yard touchdown run from Zachariah Burton in the final two minutes to rally past St. Georges 27-24. Middletown throttled Caesar Rodney 48-0 behind an eye-popping six touchdown passes from sophomore Drew Fry.
It could be a tale of the two quarterbacks. Both made their first start at the position last week, and while Burton had his ups and downs, it was all up for Fry. He even spread the TD passes around — two to Anthony DelPercio, two to Jalen Whitehead, one to Kenneth Edelin and one to Nicholas Johnston
“We knew coming into the season it was going to be a pass-heavy offense, because that was playing to the strengths of our personnel,” Mark DelPercio said. “I’ve told anybody who would listen, [Fry] has done an outstanding job. … I’ve been thrilled with what he has given us.”
The Colonials would like to knock Fry around a little, see what he can do if he has to scramble.
“They’ve got three good receivers,” Dooley said. “They’ve got good hands, they run good routes. We’ve got to put pressure on the quarterback, and we’ve got to control the clock and keep the ball in our own hands.”
Burton, who signed to play defensive back at the University of Virginia on Thursday, switched from receiver to QB for his senior season. He threw a 63-yard scoring pass to Terin Cochran in the second quarter against St. Georges, but missed on a couple of other potential big plays.
“We won, but he really played average at best. I think he’ll have a better game this week,” Dooley said of Burton. “He made the right decisions, but he threw too late sometimes. But then when we needed it most, he rose to the occasion. The reason we won the game, that last drive, it was all Burton.”
The speedy senior stood out to Mark DelPercio on film. He knows the Cavaliers can’t give Burton too much room to operate.
“As usual, they have tremendous size,” the Middletown coach said. “And when Burton has the ball in his hands, he’s scary, whether it’s running or throwing.”
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ.