Eagles’ Knight, Bucs’ Bowman head All-State football team

Smyrna’s Will Knight. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

Will Knight and David Bowman each entered high school with a ton of hype.

They exit as record holders and award winners.

Knight of Smyrna High was named the state’s Offensive Player of the Year and Bowman of Milford High was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year this week by the state’s football coaches. Hodgson’s Jalik Heyward was named the Lineman of the Year.

Knight ended his career as the leading rusher in state history while Bowman holds multiple records as Milford including the school’s career tackles record.

It is the second time in Knight’s career he was given the Offensive Player of the Year award. He won in 2015 as a sophomore.

Knight became the first player to ever win the offensive award twice and the fifth to receive a Player of the Year award more than once. He joined St. Elizabeth’s Eric Patton (2010, 2011) and Llyod Badson of William Penn (1990, 1991) who were two-time Defensive Players of the Year and Newark’s Orien Harris (1999, 2000) and Caesar Rodney’s Demetrius Stevenson (1990, 1991) who were two-time Linemen of the Year.

Knight also ended his career with three-consecutive Division I state championships with Smyrna. The running back who has verbally committed to the University of Delaware scored three rushing touchdowns in this year’s state final against Middletown and also threw for another.

Smyrna coach Mike Judy said Knight never got complacent over the last four years despite all his accolades.

“His humility coupled with his work ethic is a thing of beauty,” Judy said. “It took a talented young man and made him a superstar. I’m real proud of him and he’s a guy I’d want in my corner everyday of the week.”

Knight finished his senior year with 2,164 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns despite missing two games due to injuries. He holds the new record for most career rushing yards, 6,490, breaking the previous record held by Chris Jones of Laurel.

Judy knew Knight would be special from the first time Smyrna tried to defend him in practice as a freshman.

“We couldn’t tackle the kid,” Judy recalled.

Milford’s David Bowman. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

Bowman earned All-State first team honors on offense as a running back and defense as a defensive back in addition to his Defensive Player of the Year award. Bowman was one of only two players this year to be given first team honors on both sides of the ball.

The coaches in the Henlopen South are happy they won’t have to prepare for him next season.

“It’s been a nightmare,” said Lake Forest High coach Freddie Johnson of playing against Bowman. “He’s well-deserving of all his accolades. I’ve known him since he was a youngster in Pop Warner. I knew he was going to be a good football player and he’s lived up to his expectations.”

Bowman broke Milford’s career tackle record in the first round of the Division II tournament during a victory over Woodbridge. He helped lead the Buccaneers back to the Division II title game for the first time since 2008.

Woodbridge coach Ed Manlove said Bowman made several game-saving tackles in that contest.

“He’s everywhere,” Manlove said. “He’s one of those kids, you don’t know where he’s going to line up and even if he lines up at safety, he’s coming up to strike you.”

“He caused us fits,” Manlove added. “He took some runs that should have been 10-yard gains or even touchdowns and stopped them for three yards or less. He’s difficult to play against because he’s so physically strong. Pound for pound there’s probably no one stronger on the football field that I’ve seen in a long while.”

All-State Football

Offensive Player of the Year: Will Knight, Smyrna

Defensive Player of the Year: David Bowman, Milford

Lineman of the Year: Jalik Heyward, Hodgson

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

QB-Drew Fry, Middletown, Jr.

FB-Brooks Parker, Delmar, Sr.

RB-Will Knight, Smyrna, Sr.

RB-David Bowman, Milford, Sr.

WR-Emon Roberts, Smyrna, Jr.

WR-Kenny Edelin, Middletown, Sr.

TE-Shawn Bowman, Howard, Sr.

C-Ty-Key Moore, Smyrna, Sr.

OG-Ahmod Westbrook, Middletown, Sr.

OG-Ernest English, William Penn, Sr.

OT-T.J. Thomas, Delaware Military, Sr.

OT-Saleem Wormley, Smyrna, Jr.

DEFENSE

DE-Hunter Moyer, Smyrna, Sr.

DE-Jalik Heyward, Hodgson, Sr.

DT-Desmond Wilson, Smyrna, Sr.

DT-Ernest English, William Penn, Sr.

LB-Grahm Roberts, Concord, Sr.

LB-Darryl Williams, Smyrna, So.

LB-Kedrick Whitehead, Middletown, Sr.

LB-Brock Keeler, Woodbridge, Jr.

DB-Isaiah Gaynor, William Penn, Sr.

DB-Reggie Grinnell, Glasgow, Sr.

DB-David Bowman, Milford, Sr.

DB-Malik Banks, Howard, Sr.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K-Cooper Urban, Salesianum, Sr.

P-Ryan Nelson, Delmar, So.

RET-Corahn Alleyne, Delaware Military, Jr.

SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

QB-Chad Jones, A.I. du Pont, Jr.

FB-Jamon Kane, Woodbridge, Sr.

RB-Kedrick Whitehead, Middletown, Sr.

RB-Corahn Alleyne, Delaware Military, Jr.

WR-Tucker Reed, Polytech, Sr.

WR-LeRoy Lynch, A.I. du Pont, Jr.

TE-Bailey DeAtley, Caesar Rodney, Sr.

C-James Faragher, Middletown, Sr.

OG-Ritchy Corvil, Milford, Jr.

OG-Brendan Holder, Caesar Rodney, Sr.

OT-Nathaniel Showacre, Sussex Tech, Sr.

OT-Dom Marra, Salesianum, Sr.

DEFENSE

DE-Jon Smith, Middletown, Sr.

DE-Amod John, Howard, Sr.

DT-T.J. Thomas, Delaware Military, Sr.

DT-Brandon Crkvenac, Salesianum, Sr.

LB-Josiah Blake, Sussex Central, Sr.

LB-Brooks Parker, Delmar, Sr.

LB-Vaughn Wood, Hodgson, Sr.

LB-Tymere Wilson, Glasgow, Sr.

DB-Ernest Washington, Middletown, Sr.

DB-Julian Trammell, Caesar Rodney, Sr.

DB-Gabe Wescott, Woodbridge, Jr.

DB-Corahn Alleyne, Delaware Military, Jr.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K-Matt Drejza, Delaware Military, Sr.

P-Cooper Urban, Salesianum, Sr.

RET-Ernest Washington, Middletown, Sr.

THIRD TEAM

OFFENSE

QB-Zach Gwynn, Salesianum, Sr.

FB-Robert Jadick, Appoquinimink, Sr.

RB-Grahm Roberts, Concord, Sr.

RB-Javon Peace, Dover, So.

WR-Nick Johnston, Middletown, Jr.

WR-Mike Brewer, Woodbridge, Sr.

WR-Jamir Dantley, A.I. du Pont, Jr.

TE-Victor Marcelo, St. Mark’s, Jr.

C-Joshua Propes, Woodbridge, Jr.

OG-Christian Francis, Howard, Sr.

OG-Naquan Peace, Dover, Sr.

OT-Joey Cartwright, St. Mark’s, Jr.

OT-Xzavier Chandler, Hodgson, Sr.

DEFENSE

DE-Daniel Adebi, Wilmington Friends, Sr.

DE-Jordan Waters, Milford, Sr.

DT-Jhemir Stanley, St. Georges, Sr.

DT-Anthony Soscia, Archmere, Sr.

LB-Lance Edwards, William Penn, Sr.

LB-Joe Gormley, Salesianum, Sr.

LB-Carson Phillips, Delmar, Sr.

LB-James Holmes, Caesar Rodney, Sr.

DB-Mandela Montgomery, Caravel, Sr.

DB-Brandon Dennis, Concord, Sr.

DB-Ben Ashby, Cape Henlopen, Sr.

DB-Daniel Douglas, Hodgson, Jr.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K-Kyle Peterson, A.I. du Pont, Sr.

P-Sean Quirk, Dover, Sr.

RET-Zion Reed, Sussex Central, Jr.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.