Delmar welcomes the heat as defending Division II state champion

The Wildcats celebrate after winning the 2017 Division II state title. Delaware State News file photos

DELMAR — As defending Division II football state champion, Delmar High coach Dave Hearn is anticipating his Wildcats will have a target on their backs as the regular season opens Friday night.

“The target is a welcome one,” Hearn said. “That’s what I think everyone wants, because if you have that target on that means something good has happened and hopefully is staying around.”

Delmar starts out the season by hosting Cape Henlopen on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

With a 14-7 title victory over Milford last December, Delmar captured its first state championship since 2009. But it’s the program’s seventh state crown overall.

“We’ve had some state championships before, so they know we preach tradition a lot and so they want to be a part of that,” said Hearn.

Dante Trader is one of three returning Delmar quarterbacks.

With all three quarterbacks from the team’s 2017 championship run – A.J. Angello, Jacob VonArx and Dante Trader – returning this fall, Hearn has a problem.

Who will play quarterback?

“I have no clue,” Hearn said, when asked about the quarterback depth chart. “I’ve got three of them and I’ve had several people ask me who’s going to be my quarterback. It’s a good problem to have, because any one of them can be at any time.”

Each of the three quarterbacks saw playing time under center last year with in-season injuries making for a quarterback carousel for the Wildcats.

“All three of them were starters last year at various stages,” Hearn said.

“Injuries got to A.J. first, he was our starter at the beginning of the year. He only played a game and a half, then Jacob played most of the season and Dante really only played one half in the regular season last year but got a lot of notoriety during the playoff run.”

Angello, one of the team’s three captains, is entering his senior season with the Wildcats. VonArx is a junior and Trader is a sophomore.

No matter who is playing QB, Hearn plans to have all three players on the field.

“All three are athletic and they are going to be on the field a lot of times, even if they’re not the quarterback because of how athletic they are,” he explained. “They’re smart kids, so they can learn multiple positions and they offer us a lot.”

Out of the backfield, Delmar lost last season’s starting running back, Brooks Parker, to graduation but incoming senior running backs Te’Shawn Dennard and Trey Parsons will fill in the void left behind.

Senior running back Te’Shawn Dennard will be one of the keys to the offense.

“Te’Shawn, at the end of last season, had spectacular games,” said Hearn. “Trey Parsons, who was back there the entire season last year but just didn’t get as much recognition because he didn’t have as many carries, will be back there again this year.”

Te’Shawn’s brother, Te’Kwon, will make an impact out of the backfield as a junior.

When Angello, Trader and VonArx aren’t in at quarterback, any of the three could be used as weapons out of the backfield for Hearn’s offense.

Jacob’s twin brother, Hunter VonArx, looks to be the starter at fullback, according to Hearn. Both tackles, Chris Elliott and Zach Pasta, are returning this year along the front line.

“We’re hoping they can make us a little bit secure,” Hearn said. “They have some size, which we don’t have much of this year, so we’re hoping they’ll give us some sound blocking in the off-tackle area.”

Tight end Zach Covington is back as a junior.

“Defensively, we’re still searching for some people up on that front line and to fill Carson Phillips and Brooks Parker’s spots at linebacker,” Hearn explained. “We have multiple people playing there, but we have to stay injury-free – just like everybody else.”

Junior Masyn Lilly will return to help anchor the defensive line at tackle for Delmar.

“Lilly was one of our starters last year as a sophomore, he should be one of the better linemen in the state, defensively, and he’s probably going to get some time on offense as well,” said Hearn.

Delmar named seniors Angello, Parsons and Dennard as the team’s three captains heading into Friday night’s opener.

“The kids have respect for them, they’ve seen what they did last year, and they’ve seen them do work in the off-season,” Hearn said of the captain trio.

“They’re positive in everything they do, they help out the younger guys, so they are the ideal leaders – all three of them. They are the people you’d want to follow into a battle.”

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