Eagles crush CR 44-15 for Henlopen North crown

Devin Smith of the Eagles fights his way past CR’s Deontre Cale on a kickoff return in the second quarter. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

SMYRNA — The Smyrna High football team wasn’t sure how many regular season games it could play this season.

But the Eagles wanted to be there at the end.

And here the Eagles are, going into the Division I state tournament with another Henlopen Conference Northern Division crown.

Smyrna finished the regular season unbeaten, clinching the Henlopen North title with a 44-15 victory over Caesar Rodney at home on Friday night. The Eagles improved to 6-0 overall and await their playoff seed when the pairing are announced on Sunday.

Wayne Knight of Smyrna is hoisted high into the air by teammate Shane Drobinski after he scored the first TD of the game on a long pass play.

In a year with so many unknowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, coach Mike Judy said he was proud of his players for focusing only on what they can control. The Eagles got to play six of their seven regular season games — one was postponed after a positive COVID-19 case at Milford.

“You get maybe seven games ‘guaranteed’ and we all know based on this season that wasn’t happening,” Judy said. “But we were always striving, how can we get to Week Eight and Week Nine? What are you willing to do as a teammate to extend your time with this family? They’ve pulled out all the stops to do that.”

Aidan Sanchez paced the Eagles with four touchdowns passes to four different receivers. Wayne Knight added a rushing touchdown and a receiving score for Smyrna, which scored 36 of its points in the first half.

“It’s great having all these weapons surrounding the entire field,” Sanchez said. “It stretches the defense out and makes it really hard for them to play.”

Sanchez threw it early and often.

His first passing touchdown was to speedster Devin Smith, who beat the Rider defense over the top and sprinted down the sideline for an 80-yard reception. Sanchez then connected with Yamir Knight on the next drive for an 86-yard touchdown on a similar play, but this time it was down the middle of the field.

Sanchez followed that up with a 34-yard screen pass to Wayne Knight for a score and a 34-yard touchdown toss to Devin DeMoe in the second quarter. Wayne Knight scored on a 26-yard run, Dominick Galban added a 17-yard touchdown rush and the Eagles also recorded a safety to round out the scoring.

Tremere Woodlin of CR goes around right end and stiff-arms his way past Smyrna linebacker Erik Larson.

With so many weapons on offense, Sanchez said he knows someone will always be open. He just has to find them.

“Honestly sometimes it gets complicated because I have so many athletes on the field, the play could be designed for one and somehow another one is wide open,” Sanchez said. “Sometimes it gets complicated, but it’s never a problem.”

Caesar Rodney wrapped up its regular season with a 5-2 record.

The Riders’ evening was highlighted by a 79-yard touchdown rush from Brock Conner. Tremere Woodlin added a 33-yard touchdown pass to Nate Waite for the Riders.