Dover nabs first Unified Football title with 34-16 win over McKean

Dover’s Steven Powell rushes the ball against McKean during the Unified Football championship at Delaware Stadium. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

NEWARK — All Gavin Schukoske wanted to do is send his seniors off with a win.

The Dover High coach was able to witness his players accomplish that goal Saturday afternoon.

With a 34-16 victory over McKean High, the top-seeded Senators captured the school’s first-ever Unified Flag Football state championship at Delaware Stadium.

“It means the world to us,” said Schukoske. “These kids have been chasing it for three years, today they finally accomplished their goal. For the seniors, we were able to finish the story the way we wanted to finish it — completely undefeated and with a state title. We’re riding high right now, we’re riding very high.”

Dover’s Julian Dixon looks to pass against McKean during the Unified football championship at Delaware Stadium in Newark.

This was just the third year of the Senators’ program. After launching in 2017, Dover earned consecutive trips to the semifinals before getting over the hump and into the finals for the first time.

Dover (10-0) picked up playoff wins over Woodbridge High and Smyrna High.

In the four-year history of the Unified Football championship game, McKean has made two appearances in the finals, the first coming in the inaugural 2016 season.

Seniors Julian Dixon and Da’Vion Brown first joined the program when it launched at Dover and have been with the team ever since.

“We’ve worked hard on this all season and we had a goal to come out here and win this. Just for us to accomplish this is amazing,” said Dixon. “It’s amazing to see the smile on these kids’ faces, because this is probably the only sport that they play, so for them to be able to represent Dover in a state championship is an amazing feeling. Their smiles just make you want to smile.”

Dover’s Trevis Price reaches for McKean’s Aquemini Rodriguez’s flag.

As the starting quarterback, Dixon accounted for four of Dover’s five touchdowns. He threw for two, from three and two yards out, and ran for two more from 26 and eight yards out.

Junior Zachary Brown ran for the game-sealing 35-yard touchdown with 2:07 remaining. He also caught one of Dixon’s touchdown passes.
Sophomore Steven Powell caught Dixon’s touchdown pass in the second quarter to tie the game, 8-8.

Senior Aquemini Rodriguez ran for a 35-yard touchdown to put the Highlanders ahead early, 8-0.

Senior Antonio Rowlands threw a 35-yard touchdown to Rodriguez in the third quarter for the other McKean score.

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