Cape defeats Dover 28-16 for winning season

Cape’s Jaden Davis finds an open field and gets a long run against Dover defenders in the first quarter at Dover. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Cape Henlopen High’s football program has been through some tough times over the past couple seasons.

But Friday night was one of the moments that made it all seem worth it.

By battling past Dover, 28-16, in their season finale, the Vikings guaranteed the program’s first winning season since 2016.

After going a combined 3-17 over the previous two years, that accomplishment felt particularly sweet to Cape (3-3 Henlopen North, 4-3 overall).

Senior Jaden Davis ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns while the Vikings forced four Senator turnovers as Cape finished the shortened season by winning four of its last five games.

“We worked our tails off waiting for our senior year,” said Davis. “We’ve finally got a winning season. For me, I’ve been watching Cape forever. So to come out here and do this for the community, it’s a blessing.”

“It feels great,” said third-year coach J.D. Maull. “We’re getting there. These kids have battled through a whole lot of stuff — dealing with COVID and what’s going on. I’m very proud of them.

“That’s a good Dover team. But we played our style and we got it.”

The back-and-forth contest was still up for grabs early in the fourth quarter.

Dover’s Qualeak Bumbrey leaps over a Cape defender in the first quarter at Dover. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

Cape led 22-16 but the Senators (2-3 north, 2-4 overall) had picked up three first downs to reach midfield with 10:12 on the clock. On a first-down play, though, Vikings’ senior linebacker Isaiah Fillyau recovered a fumble at the Dover 44.

Six plays later, Jordan Baines (9 carries-84 yards) fought through some tackles to score on a 19-yard run with 8:18 remaining. The Senators never seriously challenged again.

In the first half, Cape got a big play from Chancler Johnson, who took a handoff on a counter criss-cross and bolted 60 yards for a TD that gave the Vikings a 14-6 lead in the second quarter.

“It all came together for us,” said Maull. “We ran our guy (Davis) and did our thing and we got there. We’re very excited about it.”

It was a tough finish for the Senators, who had a number of regrets in this one.

Dover got 146 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries from Teyvion McCoy plus 82 yards on 16 carries from fellow senior Qualeak Bumbrey, Quarterback Jordan Moran added a 40-yard scoring pass — off a deflection — to Tyron Abrams as well as a 29-yard field goal.

But the Senators also fumbled twice inside the Cape 10-yard line, missed a short field goal and jumped offsides on fourth down to keep a Vikings’ scoring drive alive.

“Credit to Cape, they’re a really good team,” said Dover coach Rudy Simonetti. “They took advantage — that’s what good teams do. You can’t make mistakes.

“I said last week, we need to bring our ‘A’ game and we didn’t do that.”

The Senators had won the last two meetings in the series by a combined 107-7. Friday’s game showed how much things can change in a year.

With only nine seniors on this year’s squad, Cape is hoping that better things are on the horizon for the program.

“Next year, playoffs — that’s the goal,’ said Maull. “We want to get to the playoffs. That definitely is the goal next year for us.”

“I feel like we’ve got a lot more respect from the community,” said Davis, who went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second straight season. “Everybody’s more proud.

“I think they’re going to be even better next year — and I hope they are. I definitely think they’re ready to contend for a conference championship and even a state championship.”