Blue Raiders shut out Howard 28-0, advance to Division II semifinals

BRIDGEVILLE — The Woodbridge High followed the same formula it used last week.

A week after winning a conference championship, the Blue Raiders are now into the Division II state semifinals.

Woodbridge, the fourth seed, was led by a balanced rushing attack and a strong defense to defeat No. 5 Howard 28-0 on Friday night in the first round of the DIAA Division II football state tournament.

It was the second consecutive shutout for the defense who downed Delmar High 25-0 last Friday to earn its second Henlopen Conference Southern Division championship.

Now the Blue Raiders reached the semifinals for the third time in the last four seasons. It means they’re practicing on Thanksgiving again.

“We love that Thanksgiving practice,” said senior linebacker Brock Keeler. “We know that’s a special place. We’re just excited to be here. It’s truly a blessing and a great feeling.”

Keeler paced the defense with a sack and an 11-yard interception return for a touchdown. Tajhon Hammond and Jayquon Massey also recorded interceptions while Corey Hastings, Vinod Singh, Josh Propes and Taeshaun Ford-Jackson each had a sack.

Running back Jamon Kane rushed for a pair of touchdowns while quarterback Troy Haynes added a rushing touchdown of his own.

With most of the Howard defense focusing on Kane, Richard Massey was able to pick up big gains on sweeps in the first half to set the tone. He had 96 yards by halftime which ended up opening things up for Kane in the second half.

“That’s what we’ve been doing for three years,” said Woodbridge coach Ed Manlove of the chemistry between the two running backs. “It’s not a secret.”

Despite scoring on the first possession, Woodbridge only led 7-0 at halftime.

Kane earned a 2-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Hammond made sure Woodbridge held the advantage at halftime when he picked off a pass just in front of the end zone.

Woodbridge won’t know who it plays in the second round until today’s games are over since the tournament reseeds after the first round. Second seed Wilmington Friends plays No. 7 Delaware Military and third seed Archmere hosts Delmar.

If one of Wilmington Friends or Archmere loses, the Blue Raiders will have another home game helped out by the fact the top seed A.I. du Pont was upset by eight seed Tower Hill.

“Hopefully we can play a little better in the first half and not make mistakes,” Manlove said. “I think we’ll be fine. But it’s a toss up on who we’re going to play.”

Woodbridge (9-2) is currently on an eight-game winning streak and has allowed only 40 points combined during its last seven games.

“We’re playing great team ball,” Keeler said. “Everyone is doing their one of eleven, everyone is doing their job and executing on every level. The line is doing a great job of holding their gaps, linebackers are doing a great job of filling those gaps and the d-backs are locking stuff down in the secondary.”

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