Eagles spoil Sals’ stadium debut with 42-30 victory

WILMINGTON — The Smyrna High football team arrived to the unveiling of the new Abessinio Stadium and spoiled the party.

Smyrna scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second half to come from behind and down Salesianum 42-30 in Wilmington on Friday night. The Eagles improved to 4-0 overall.

Abessinio Stadium is replacing the Sals’ former home Baynard Stadium on the same lot

“It is beautiful,” said Smyrna senior quarterback Aidan Sanchez. “The whole stadium is beautiful but it looks a lot better with that scoreboard behind it.”

Sanchez threw for four touchdowns on Friday — all in the second half.

He gave the Eagles the lead for good on a 60-yard toss over the Salesianum defense to Jermaine Earl with 6:51 left in the third quarter. The play was the first from scrimmage after Salesianum had edged in front 23-22.

Sanchez said the play call was made at the line after seeing Earl was facing single coverage.

“That’s just the feel of the defense,” Sanchez said. “I got a stud receiver out here who can stretch the field so much. If we see a mismatch, we’re going to take it. We just spotted it. We know he couldn’t guard our guy so we said, ‘Alright let’s get in the end zone.’”

Devin DeMoe later made a diving 19-yard touchdown catch on third-and-long followed by a 15-yard touchdown from Yamir Knight as Smyrna reeled off the three unanswered scores in the second half.

DeMoe’s touchdown was set up by an interception from Smyrna’s Kevin Woodruff.

Earl finished with two of Sanchez’s four passing touchdowns. His first came with 11:00 left in the third quarter on a 7-yard throw from Sanchez.

Smyrna’s two first half touchdowns were both runs. The first touchdown in Abessinio Stadium history was scored by Smyrna running back Dominick Galban from eight yards out.

Wayne Knight added a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. That score was set up by an 82-yard kick return from Devin Smith and a 14-yard catch from Yamir Knight.

After trailing 16-14 at halftime, the Eagles out-scored Salesianum 28-7 in the second half before a late consolation touchdown brought the Sals within 42-30.

“Anytime you can play Sallies and play them tough is a good win,” said Smyrna coach Mike Judy. “Not just any year but this year when they’re so good. That team is so good everywhere. They had some injuries which slowed them down and that played into our favor.”