Cavaliers end Eagles’ 22-game win streak: Middletown tops 2-time D-I champ Smyrna 35-28 in opener

MIDDLETOWN — Smyrna High’s football winning streak had to end sooner or later.

But Harvest Bowl rival Middletown will no doubt take particular pride in the fact that it was the one to do it.

The Cavaliers became the first team to beat Smyrna since Sept. 25, 2015 by notching a hard-earned 35-28 victory over the Eagles before an overflow crowd at Cavalier Stadium.

The loss snapped a 22-game winning streak for two-time defending Division I state champion Smyrna, which downed Middletown, 36-14, in last year’s state finals.

Drew Fry (#8) of Middletown passes the ball as Smyrna plays Middletown at Cavalier Stadium in Middletown.

Senior fullback Jeffrey Lockwood pulled in a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Fry to snap a 28-28 tie with 7:29 left in the back-and-forth contest.

The Cavaliers’ Alexis Green then came up with an interception on a long pass on the Eagles’ next play from scrimmage before Middletown’s offense was able to hang onto the ball for the final 7:23. Fry lunged for a first down on a fourth-and-one at the Smyrna 35 with 2:57 remaining to seal the victory.

The Cavs made a winner out of first-year head coach Zach Blum, a veteran Middletown assistant who was making his debut in the season opener for both teams.

“It was a great football game, my gosh,” said Blum. “It was a great night for it, a great crowd.

“I think we just finished the football game, which was great to see. That’s kind of where we’ve been missing it the last couple years. We’ve gotten close but we didn’t finish. Tonight we were able to finish.”

William Knight (#25) of Smyrna carries the ball while breaking free from the grip of Michael Wilson (#14) of Middletown as Smyrna plays Middletown at Cavalier Stadium in Middletown.

Smyrna coach Mike Judy, on the other hand, just thought the Eagles made too many mistakes. Smyrna had a couple crucial turnovers and some costly penalties, including one that wiped out a 60-yard kickoff return.

“Hats off to Middletown, they’re a great team,” said Judy. “We made way too many mistakes to think, at the end of the night, we would be very lucky to be able to win that game.

“Part of it, I think, was us having some new guys in different positions. It’s kind of a tough first venue for a lot of the guys. But, I told them, I’m very proud of their effort. But again, the team that made the least amount of mistakes won that game.”

The loss overshadowed another huge performance from Smyrna running back Will Knight. The senior scored all four Eagles’ TDs, running for 296 yards on 23 carries.

Knight also capped off his night by throwing a two-point conversion pass to Diron Accoo to knot the score at 28-28 with 11:14 left in the game. Three of Knight’s scoring runs covered 60 yards or more.

Kedrick Whitehead (#3) charges into the endzone for a Middletown touchdown as Smyrna plays Middletown at Cavalier Stadium in Middletown.

But Middletown answered with three touchdown passes from Fry (16-for-23, 201 yards), including two to receiver Nicholas Johnston. Running back Kedrick Whitehead also had a good night, running for 127 yards on 13 carries, including a 61-yard scoring run in the second half.

Smyrna’s passing game put up only 35 yards as new starting QB Isaiah Wilson completed 7-of-14 passes.

This was the first time the two neighboring programs had met in the regular season since 2012, when the Harvest Bowl rivalry was discontinued because the Cavs were dominating it.

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or walter@newszap.com.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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