Big plays by Cape defense key 16-14 victory over Central

LEWES — They stopped them on the goal line.

They stopped them on fourth down, even on a fake punt.

And they stopped them from a game-winning touchdown, forcing a field goal attempt that fell short.

The players on the Cape Henlopen High defense came up with key stops again and again to hold off Sussex Central 16-14 in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division clash on Friday night. The Vikings remained unbeaten in the Henlopen North at 2-0 and 4-1 overall.

Cape Henlopen’s biggest defensive plays came on the final snap of the first half when the Vikings tackled the Golden Knights at the one-yard line and when they held in the red zone before the final missed field goal.

“That’s a lot of pride,” said senior linebacker Kolbi Wright. “I love the guys I’m playing next to. I really do. This is a huge win and I love how my guys played. We dug deep. That’s a very good team over there so this is a great win for the season.”

Wright also scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown on a score from seven yards out with 3:12 left in the third quarter.

The Vikings took the lead for good on freshman Hunter Simmons’ 24-yard field goal with 7:45 left in the third. Zach Dale scored the first touchdown for Cape with a 30-yard reception off a pass by Dillon Adams in the first quarter.

Dale was also the one who had the tackle to stuff Central at the goal line as time expired in the second quarter.

“This is that confidence booster,” Dale said. “People are going to respect us a lot more. I don’t think people really respected us before the game, but we proved a point.”

Timothy Jones had a pair of rushing touchdowns to pace the Golden Knights (1-1 North, 3-2 overall).

Jones scored with 9:18 left in the contest to cut Cape’s lead to 16-14. Sussex Central’s Isaac Barnes then recovered a fumble with 6:00 remaining to allow the Golden Knights a chance to win it, taking over on their own 31.

Eight plays later, Sussex Central was in the red zone. A holding penalty pushed the Golden Knights back and Cape Henlopen only allowed three more yards over the next three plays.

“They run the Wing-T just like us,” Dale said. “We knew what to expect and we were ready for it.”

With 1:28 on the clock, the Golden Knights sent out the field goal unit. The kick was on line but sunk below the crossbar.

Wright gained a first down on the next play, meaning the Vikings could just kneel two more times to run out the clock. Wright led the Vikings with 88 rushing yards, 62 of which came in the second half.

Wright had to sit out a few plays in the second half after he was down with an injury, but he came back on the field to help seal it.

“They told me the ball was coming to me every play,” Wright said. “I’m glad they did it. I was pushing through some pain right there. I’m going to wake up sore tomorrow.”

Sussex Central had defeated the Vikings 34-7 a year ago. Cape had not won over Central since 2013.

“Most of us, in our high school careers we’ve never beat Sussex Central,” Dale said. “We were fired up all week at practice for this. We played a great game.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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