Eagles air it out in 52-21 win over Senators

Smyrna’s William Knight against Dover in the second quarter. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — As far as passing goes, this certainly hasn’t been the easiest of seasons for Isaiah Wilson.

But the Smyrna High quarterback showed on Friday night that really maybe all he needs is a little more time to adjust to the Eagles’ offense.

With Dover’s defense focused on slowing down Smyrna star running back Will Knight, the Eagles went to the air and eventually pulled away to a 52-21 victory in a Henlopen North matchup.

Wilson threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns and Smyrna (4-0 North, 5-2 overall) scored the game’s final 38 points to rally for its 16th straight North victory.

Dover’s Nadeem Boggerty tackles Smyrna’s Emon Roberts in the second quarter. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

“He is really, really starting to come into his own,” Eagles’ coach Mike Judy said about Wilson, the first-year transfer from Glasgow. “He’s starting to kind of season in that spot in our offense.

“He’s not dialed in yet. But when he is dialed in, look out.”

With Dover (0-3 North, 1-6) giving Smyrna all it could handle in the first half, the Eagles needed Wilson’s passing to loosen things up.

The Senators took the lead three times in the first half. The last time came late in the second quarter when sophomore running back Javon Peace took a screen pass from QB Jordan Magee and then kept breaking tackles all the way down the field to score on a 75-yard catch and run.

The highlight-reel play gave Dover a 21-14 advantage with 1:56 left before halftime.

But that was just enough time for Wilson and the Eagles to answer with a 10-play, 89-yard scoring march. Wilson hit receiver Emon Roberts with a 19-yard pass on a fourth-and 16 at the Dover 12.

Senior Keshaun Tolbert then took a short pass from Wilson, sidestepped a defender and scored his second TD on a 12-yard pass with just 23.4 seconds left before intermission. Knight’s two-point conversion run gave Smyrna the lead for good at 22-21.

Dover’s QB Jordan Magee rushes against Smyrna in the first quarter.

Wilson ended up completing 18-of-28 passes with an interception. Roberts also had a big night, catching eight passes for 188 yards and a touchdown.

“I feel as though, when the game starts, we try to test teams out and see how we stack up against them,” said Wilson. “(But) at practice we’re going to develop and try to figure out how to start a little quicker.

“Dover, on Twitter, (was saying) this is their Super Bowl. So we figured they were going to stack the box and try to shut down Will Knight since he’s been our offense for the past couple weeks. So our game plan was pretty much pass the ball.

“I’m getting the most out of every practice and trying to get better each week. I’m getting more trust with both the coaches and players.”

All that passing yardage didn’t mean that Knight had a bad night, of course.

The senior star still ran for 140 yards and three touchdoowns on 21 carries. He also threw a TD pass — a 19-yarder to Marcus Vass in the third quarter — ran for a pair of two-point conversions and threw for another.

Magee led the way for Dover, completing 14-of-20 passes for 124 yards. He threw short scoring passes to Gabriel Evans and Eden Davis.

Senators coach Rudy Simonetti knows that competing with Smyrna for two quarters and four quarters are two very different things.

“We kept it interesting,” he said. “We’re banged up but that didn’t stop us. I thought the kids really matched Smyrna’s intensity. They’re a real tough chore to stop and I was realy proud of the kids.

“They’ve got talent all over the place,” he said about the Eagles. “We knew they were going to get their points today. We’re so close to putting together a full four quarters. We’ve just got to stay healthy.”

Judy, a Dover grad, said the Senators deserve credit for making Smyrna earn the victory.

“They did a good job of taking it to us,” said Judy. “And our kids have to learn how to get off the bus ready to play.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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