Dover defense shines in blanking Panthers 43-0

Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

WOODSIDE — It all happened so quickly.

One moment Dover High’s Bradly Anyanwu was chasing Polytech’s quarterback.

The next minute, the Senators’ big defensive tackle had the ball in his hands and was running into the end zone.

“I wasn’t thinking, I was just running, man,” Anyanwu said about scooping up the fumble. “They (his teammates) were like, ‘Go, go, go.’”

That’s just the kind of night it was for Dover’s defense, which not only blanked Polytech 43-0 in a Henlopen North matchup on Friday night, but also helped out with the scoring.

Anyanwu’s 26-yard return of a fumble for a TD was just one of five first-half turnovers forced by the Senators (1-1 North, 2-3 overall), who stormed out to a 30-0 halftime lead against the Panthers (0-2, 1-4).

Dover’s defense certainly felt a little better about itself than it did last Friday after giving up 60 points to Smyrna’s high-powered offense. It was the Senators’ first shutout since blanking Polytech by the same 43-0 score last season.

“It felt great to come out today with a shutout, everybody had fun,” said senior safety Christian McPoyle. “We needed this. It just felt good seeing how fast and physical our defense was playing. We had a lot of stops so our offense can get that momentum so they can score.”

“It was a great rebound game,” said Anyanwu. “We needed this win.”

“The kids played lights out on defense,“ said first-year Dover coach Rudy Simonetti. “And our offense, I felt, started to awake this game a little bit. That’s what we’re capable of doing.”

Dover’s defense started making contributions right from the start.

Javon Peace’s interception and 28-yard return set up the Senators at the Polytech 22 on the game’s first possession. QB Jordan Magee eventually scored the first touchdown on a two-yard run on a fourth-down play.

Another interception, this one by linebacker Lawrence Horsey, on the Panthers’ second drive gave Dover the ball at the Polytech 30. That led to Derek Hallock’s 25-yard field goal.

In the second quarter, a disastrous strip sack — 31 yards behind the line of scrimmage — gave the Senators their second touchdown. McPoyle stripped the ball and Anyanwu picked up the loose ball and rambled 26 yards uncontested for the touchdown that pushed Dover’s lead to 17-0.

“It was awesome,” said MCPoyle. “I stripped it. I saw the ball and then I saw big Bradly come up, scoop it and take off.”

Later in the quarter, Jerry Warren (9 carries-90 yards) broke a few tackles for an 18-yard scoring run before Magee found Jhalil Mosley across the middle on a 20-yard touchdown pass as the Senators’ advantage ballooned to 30-0 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Magee (7-for-10 for 76 yards) completed a 50-yard scoring drive with a one-yard sneak. The TD, which stretched Dover’s lead to 36-0, sent the contest to a running clock with 5:19 left in the third quarter.

A 22-yard pass from Magee to Dwight Wilson set up the touchdown.

The Senators finished the contest on an eight-play, 59-yard scoring drive with Abdul-Rahim Bracey running in from nine yards out.

“We’ve got a lot of young, varsity-inexperienced guys in key spots,” said Simonetti. “We had a real good week of practice. I saw last week, the first half of the Smyrna game — I know the score didn’t indicate it — but they really played hard.

“We’ve just got to learn to finish games. We did that today. They came out from the opening kickoff and played hard.”

“We definitely bounced back from Smyrna,” said McPoyle. “I think we’re a pretty strong team. I love everyone on this team and I think these next five games should be good for us.”

Extra points

Senior Larry Benson had a goal-line interception in the first half for the Panthers. … Senior Gavin Watson gave the Senators a spark in the first quarter when he ran 31 yards on a fake punt. … John Rodel Castro added 50 yards on nine carries for Dover, which hosts Cape Henlopen next Friday night for Homecoming.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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