Cape Henlopen Preview: Vikings looking to bounce back

Sophomore Hank D’Ambrogi is expected to be Cape’s starting QB this season. (Delaware State News/Ben Heck)

LEWES — Prior to last season, Hank D’Ambrogi had never played football.

The Cape Henlopen High sophomore tried out for the team last year as a placekicker.

Not only did he kick a 47-yard field goal for the Vikings, but he also started a couple of games at quarterback during his freshman campaign.

“A lot of people don’t know, Hank just started playing football last year,” said Cape coach J.D. Maull. “He’s been a lacrosse kid.

“Funny story how I found Hank, he was going to come out to kick and I saw him throw a football. I said, ‘Hey man, you’re going to play quarterback.’”

Now entering his second season, D’Ambrogi is more prepared to lead the Vikings’ offense as the full-time starting QB. He’s feeling more comfortable with the football in his hands now that he has a full season under his belt.

Maull is hoping the experience that young players like D’Ambrogi got last year will start to pay off this fall as Cape tries to bounce back from last year’s 1-9 campaign.

Maull will open his second season as the Vikings’ head coach when Cape hosts his former team — St. Georges — on Friday at 7 p.m. It marks Maull’s first time facing the Hawks.

Being a soccer player in the fall, D’Ambrogi was usually too busy to try out for the football team.

“I would always mess around in the backyard with the football, but I had never really gotten the chance to come out and try, with playing soccer all the time,” D’Ambrogi explained. “Then when I did, he saw me throw and he asked me if I wanted to play (quarterback), so here we are now.”

“It’s been great watching him grow,” Maull said. “He’s the general right now, that’s why he’s going to be a captain for us. He’s putting guys in the right spots and doing a great job.”

Though the program only has 46 players right now and lost a couple of players to transfer, Maull is excited about his returners and some of the newcomers on this year’s roster.

“I tell you what, the kids now really understand the offense and the coaches really understand the offense, so we’re a lot better in practice,” Maull explained. “Everything is more crisp, we’re putting more plays in. The kids are doing a great job competing every day at practice and in our scrimmages.”

Sophomore Luke Ruppert and senior Felix Harmon return along the offensive line for the Vikings. The rest of the starting line includes newcomers, with just two senior linemen on the entire roster.

Junior captain Jaden Davis will lead the way coming out of the backfield behind D’Ambrogi.

“Jaden is doing a great job,” said Maull. “He’s put on 27 pounds since last year and you can tell. He’s confident, he’s running with power and really doing a great job. He’ll be the leader of the pack.”

D.J. Johnson, Jordan Baines and Daniel Saez join Davis at running back, providing the Vikings with depth in the backfield.

“Everyone’s looking good right now,” said Davis. “The guys are learning the plays and they’re doing a good job blocking. They’re doing their best at everything they do in practice.”

At receiver, junior Ja’Vaughn Burton is set to be the top target in the passing game.

Defensively, Maull and his coaching staff hope to see improvements after the unit limited opponents to 21 or fewer points just twice last season.

Senior Damian McFeaters and junior Josiah Miller are set to lead the defense this year, with sophomore newcomer Merek Harrigan-Ferro stepping up and making plays this preseason, as well.

“Goal-wise, we obviously want to do a lot better than last year with our record,” Maull said. “But we want to do better in the classroom as well, we always preach that. But we feel like we can go out there and compete, and we want to get back to the playoffs.”

Austin Carey will kick extra points, while D’Ambrogi will be kicking field goals on special teams.

Radio station Delaware 105-9 FM will broadcast all of Cape’s games this season. Glenn Frazer (40th year) will handle the play-by-play with Dan Messina on color.

Cape Henlopen

2019 Schedule

SEPTEMBER

6-ST. GEORGES 7 p.m.

14-At William Penn 1 p.m.

20-At Milford* 7 p.m.

27-DOVER* 7 p.m.

OCTOBER

4-DELAWARE MILITARY HC 7 p.m.

11-At Sussex Central* 7 p.m.

18-CAESAR RODNEY* 7 p.m.

25-POLYTECH* 7 p.m.

NOVEMBER

1-At Smynra* 7 p.m.

8-At Sussex Tech* 7 p.m.

  • Henlopen North game.

2018 Results

1-5 Henlopen North, 1-9 overall

L-Delmar 14-42

L-Suitland 13-55

L-Northeast 13-21

L-Smyrna* 0-53

W-Polytech* 28-20

L-Caesar Rodney* 9-29

L-Milford 0-38

L-Sussex Central* 0-43

L-Dover* 7-51

L-Sussex Tech* 13-42

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.
Facebook Comment