Smyrna clinches Henlopen North in rout of Cape Henlopen

Smyrna clinches Henlopen North in rout of Cape Henlopen

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Smyrna clinches Henlopen North in rout of Cape Henlopen

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Cape’s Hunter Simmons with a field goal to tie the game at 16
Cape’s Hunter Simmons with a field goal to tie the game at 16 in their home game against Smyrna.
Smyrna’s Leddie Brown with a touchdown run to make the score 22-16
Smyrna’s Leddie Brown with a touchdown run to make the score 22-16 in their win over Cape Henlopen.
Smyrna’s William Knight with a first down run
Smyrna’s William Knight with a first down run in their win over Cape Henlopen.
Smyrna’s William Knight with a touchdown run to make the score 38-16 Smyrna
Smyrna’s William Knight with a touchdown run to make the score 38-16 Smyrna, in their game against Cape Henlopen.
Smyrna’s William Knight with a touchdown run to make the score 46-16 Smyrna
Smyrna’s William Knight with a touchdown run to make the score 46-16 Smyrna, in their game against Cape Henlopen.
Smyrna’s Keshaun Tolbert with a catch in the end zone
Smyrna’s Keshaun Tolbert with a catch in the end zone in their game against Cape Henlopen.

LEWES – Cape Henlopen matched Smyrna’s furious scoring pace for 1½ quarters on Friday night.

Then the top-ranked Eagles shifted into overdrive, and left the Vikings in park.

Smyrna scored the last 40 points to turn an early tie into a distant memory and race to a 56-16 victory that clinched its second straight Henlopen North championship.

“It really means a lot,” Eagles running back Will Knight said of the conference title. “Since we come from a small town, we don’t really get this often. It’s very important to us.”

Smyrna's Keshaun Tolbert (8) runs with the ball down the field in their game against Cape Henlopen.

Smyrna’s Keshaun Tolbert (8) runs with the ball down the field in their game against Cape Henlopen.

Seventh-ranked Cape Henlopen (6-3, 4-1) moved 57 yards in seven plays on the game’s opening drive. Dillon Adams threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to big receiver Zach Dale, a play that didn’t surprise Smyrna coach Mike Judy.

“Every film we saw of him, he was making catches that were in traffic, dude draped on him,” Judy said.

But Smyrna took just 2:50 to cover 55 yards in nine plays on its first drive. Quarterback Nolan Henderson completed 4 of 5 passes, then scored on an 8-yard run. Knight’s two-point conversion pushed the Eagles to an 8-7 lead.

“It was important for us to get off to a good start and score fast,” Henderson said. “The past couple of games we really haven’t gotten off to the start we wanted to, but in this game we definitely did well in the beginning.”

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The Vikings answered almost as quickly, as Rasheed Woods broke off a 24-yard gain and 236-pound fullback Kolbi Wright bulled in from the 3 for a 13-8 lead. Smyrna took just two plays to get back in front, as Henderson hooked up with Emon Roberts for a 54-yard gain and Leddie Brown scored from the 7. Another Knight two-pointer made it 16-13 with 2:16 left in the opening quarter.

Then Cape did exactly what it wanted to do – control the clock. The Vikings took 7:45 on a 16-play march that finally stalled inside the 10. Hunter Simmons kicked a 25-yard field goal to tie it at 16 with 6:31 left in the first half.

“I didn’t feel like our backs were against the wall,” Judy said. “We’re definitely a second-half team.”

The Eagles (9-0, 5-0) finished the first half pretty well. Brown returned the ensuing kickoff 53 yards to the Vikings 28, then scored from the 15 five plays later. Then Smyrna forced a Cape punt and rolled 76 yards in nine plays, with Brown punching in his third TD from the 3 for a 32-16 halftime lead.

But the best was yet to come. The Eagles started the second half at their own 2 after a bobbled kickoff. And this time, Smyrna chewed up the clock.

The Eagles launched an epic, 13-play, 98-yard drive, with Knight gaining 80 yards on seven carries. Smyrna ate more than half the third quarter before Knight scored from the 1 for a 40-16 lead with 5:51 left in the period.

“The O-line did a great job on that drive,” Henderson said. “I believed in them, they believed in us, and it was just a team drive. It was incredible.”

Smyrna’s next scoring drive was a little faster: one play, 84 yards. Knight found a seam and took it the distance for a 48-16 lead with 10:15 to play.

“He’s got a little burst,” Judy said of Knight, who finished with 12 carries for 179 yards. “He’s got that in him. When he hits a hole, he accelerates. He’s very patient to the hole, but when he hits it, he punches it.”

The Eagles play winless Polytech next week, then begin defense of their DIAA Division I championship in the playoffs. But one of their main objectives – the conference title – has been met.

“They practice like champions. They approach the games like champions,” Judy said. “They study film like champions, and they approach the offseason like champions. That’s their goal, so for now, Henlopen champions.”

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

Cape Henlopen's Zachary Dale (10) catches a touchdown pass in the first quarter against Smyrna to make the score 6-0.

Cape Henlopen’s Zachary Dale (10) catches a touchdown pass in the first quarter against Smyrna to make the score 6-0.

Smyrna's Emon Roberts (5) runs with the ball down the field after making a catch in their game against Cape Henlopen.

Smyrna’s Emon Roberts (5) runs with the ball down the field after making a catch in their game against Cape Henlopen.

Smyrna's quarterback Nolan Henderson (2) celebrates with his team after scoring their first touchdown against Cape Henlopen.

Smyrna’s quarterback Nolan Henderson (2) celebrates with his team after scoring their first touchdown against Cape Henlopen.

Cape Henlopen's Cory Lawson (44) makes a tackle on Smyrna's Leddie Brown (4).

Cape Henlopen’s Cory Lawson (44) makes a tackle on Smyrna’s Leddie Brown (4).

Smyrna's quarterback Nolan Henderson (2) runs in for their first touchdown against Cape Henlopen.

Smyrna’s quarterback Nolan Henderson (2) runs in for their first touchdown against Cape Henlopen.

Smyrna's Jeremy D'Aguiar (23) tackles Cape Henlopen's Kolbi Wright (42) in the second quarter.

Smyrna’s Jeremy D’Aguiar (23) tackles Cape Henlopen’s Kolbi Wright (42) in the second quarter.

Cape Henlopen's Zachary Dale (10) reaches for the ball during a pass to the sideline in their home game against Smyrna.

Cape Henlopen’s Zachary Dale (10) reaches for the ball during a pass to the sideline in their home game against Smyrna.

Smyrna's Jake Kaiser (20) grabs the jersey of Cape Henlopen's Rasheed Woods (2) to stop his run down the field.

Smyrna’s Jake Kaiser (20) grabs the jersey of Cape Henlopen’s Rasheed Woods (2) to stop his run down the field.

Cape Henlopen's Kolbi Wright (42) dives for more yardage in their game against Smyrna.

Cape Henlopen’s Kolbi Wright (42) dives for more yardage in their game against Smyrna.

Cape Henlopen's defense makes a tackle on Smyrna's Leddie Brown (4).

Cape Henlopen’s defense makes a tackle on Smyrna’s Leddie Brown (4).

Cape Henlopen's Keith Mumford-Reed (13) makes a tackle on Smyrna's Leddie Brown (4).

Cape Henlopen’s Keith Mumford-Reed (13) makes a tackle on Smyrna’s Leddie Brown (4).

Smyrna's Nolan Henderson (2) looks down field for a receiver in their game against Cape Henlopen.

Smyrna’s Nolan Henderson (2) looks down field for a receiver in their game against Cape Henlopen.

Smyrna's Jacob Soroko (21) almost intercepts a pass to Cape Henlopen's Zachary Dale (10).

Smyrna’s Jacob Soroko (21) almost intercepts a pass to Cape Henlopen’s Zachary Dale (10).

Smyrna's Emon Roberts (5) completes a catch near the sideline in their game against Cape Henlopen.

Smyrna’s Emon Roberts (5) completes a catch near the sideline in their game against Cape Henlopen.

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