CR graduate Moffett coaches Hodgson to Division I final

“Making the semifinals in our first year was pretty impressive,” Hodgson coach Frank Moffett Jr. said. “Then in our second year we went 10-0. So we came into this year with some high expectations.” Delaware State News/Ben Heck

NEW CASTLE — Frank Moffett Jr. has been to his fair share of football championship games.

He’s even won three titles along the way.

But Saturday’s state championship will be a little different for the 1981 Caesar Rodney High graduate.

Moffett has coached Hodgson Vo-Tech to its first appearance in a Division I title game. The top-seeded Silver Eagles (11-0) will take on second seed Middletown High (10-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday at the University of Delaware’s Stadium.

Hodgson is only in its third year of Division I football. But Moffett, who has been the Silver Eagles head coach since 2004, felt they would be prepared for the jump up from Division II.

“I believed in the program that we built,” Moffett said. “Moving up to Division I was a transition but I always played Division I programs. I would play Salesianum, Concord, Caesar Rodney. So with the transition, I always felt like we could compete at that level based on the players who came through Hodgson and the program that we developed since I’ve been the head coach.”

And the Silver Eagles had plenty of success in Division II before they moved up for the 2017 season.

Moffett and company won Division II state championships in 2007, 2013 and 2014. The Silver Eagles also reached the finals in 2009 and 2012.

The jump to Division I did not slow them down either as the Silver Eagles have made at least the state semifinals every year in Division I.

Hodgson fell to eventual state champion Smyrna in its debut season in Division I in 2017. It followed that season up with an undefeated regular season mark a year ago before a heartbreaking loss to Salesianum in the semifinals.

“Making the semifinals in our first year was pretty impressive,” Moffett said. “Then in our second year we went 10-0. So we came into this year with some high expectations.”

That semifinal loss a season ago helped Hodgson come up with a rallying cry for this year. Moffett wore it on the back of his sweatshirt Monday at the DIAA state championship press conferences in New Castle — it says “Unfinished Business. No Excuses.”

“They’ve really bought into it,” Moffett said. “Losing that semifinal game a year ago, that was a tough loss. But following that game, the kids came up with the theme for the year, ‘Unfinished Business, No Excuses.’ And I tell you, it’s not really about a semifinal game, it’s about wanting to win every football game. The unfinished business is wanting to get to a championship game and win it.”

Moffett himself played in two state tournaments while at Caesar Rodney.

In 1979, CR edged Newark 14-13 in the semifinals and ended up falling to Cape Henlopen in the championship. The following year was Moffett’s last appearance in the tournament when the Riders lost to eventual state champion Dickinson in the semifinals.

He went on to play at the University of Delaware. He is now in his 15th season as a head football coach.

Moffett has 18 seniors on this year’s roster, many of whom played in both semifinals in 2017 and 2018.

“They’ve rode the wave,” Moffett said. “We got 18 seniors who went through two semifinal losses. That taste has stayed in their mouthes. I always challenge my seniors, what kind of legacy are you going to leave when you walk off the field?”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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