Fake field goal TD keys Ravens’ 17-6 win over Riders

GEORGETOWN — It was one of those situations where a field goal certainly would have helped.

But it wasn’t going to put the game out of reach for Sussex Tech.

So quarterback Justin Hill — the holder on the kick — was pretty excited when he heard coach Mark Quillen switch the play to a fake field goal.

The play worked perfectly, with Hill standing up and throwing an eight-yard scoring pass to a wide-open James Harmon for a touchdown that helped the Ravens finally put away Caesar Rodney, 17-6, in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division football game on Saturday afternoon.

The hard-earned homecoming victory keeps Sussex Tech (2-0 North, 5-0 overall) unbeaten going into next Friday’s Henlopen North showdown at Smyrna.

The Ravens, though, may have go into that matchup without standout running back Patrick Griffin. The senior ran for 166 yards and a TD on 22 carries but was ejected from the contest after a brief altercation following a second-half play on Saturday.

Unless the game film shows the call was in error, Griffin will have to serve an automatic one-game suspension.

It certainly wasn’t the prettiest of victories for Sussex Tech. The Ravens were called for 15 penalties totaling 129 yards and also fumbled the ball away three times.

“We’ll take it,” said Hill. “We’ve got a lot to clean up. We’ve got Smyrna next week and hopefully we’ll do a lot better penalty-wise, as far as mental preparation and all that good stuff.”

“We haven’t been penalized like that all year long,” said Quillen. “That’s a little disappointing. We haven’t put the ball on the ground.

“We’ve had kind of a strange week with the Monday game and we don’t necessarily play on Saturdays,” he said, referring to schedule changes caused last weekend’s storm. “We talked a lot this week about getting over adversity. We’ve got to lick our wounds.”

One of those Ravens’ fumbles, at their own 10 yard line late in the second quarter, helped the Riders (0-1 North, 1-4) stay in the game. Two plays later, fullback Mike Clavier scored on an eight-yard run up the middle as CR trailed only 10-6 at halftime.

That’s why the fake field goal, which came midway through the third quarter, was so crucial. The three points still would have left Sussex Tech leading by only a touchdown.

On film, the Ravens had noticed how hard the Riders rush PAT kicks from both ends.

“It’s something that we have in our little bag of tricks, I guess,” said Quillen. “We said we wanted to hold off until we felt like we really needed it.

“We needed a touchdown. … Justin just made a great decision and a great play. It was right on the money.”

“It was a great play call,” said Hill. “The (CR) outside guys were almost blocking the kick every time. I just tried to get my shoulders set and make a good throw.”

The Riders did have a chance to get back in the game in the fourth quarter when sophomore QB Jared Wagenhoffer hit senior Marcus Carney on a 66-yard catch-and-run to the Sussex Tech 18. CR eventually reached the Ravens’ two before an unsportsmanlike penalty left the Riders with a fourth-and-goal from the 17.

Wagenhoffer was sacked on the play to end the Riders’ last real threat.

It was one of five sacks by Sussex Tech which put pressure on CR quarterbacks Brian Lewis (4-of-6, 47 yards) and Wagnehoffer (6-of-12, 104 yards) much of the game.

The Ravens finished with a 359-204 edge in total yards. Besides Griffin, who scored on a 17-yard run in the first half, Timaun Williams added 106 yards on 21 carries.

For the Riders, Carney had 87 yards on a pair of receptions while sophomore Bailey DeAtley had seven catches for 51 yards. Coach Dan Candeloro liked the way his team found a way to stay in the game.

“We’ve just got to stop the run,” said the first-year head coach. “They just pounded the ball. They’ve got a couple or three backs that are downhill runners. And the line comes off the ball and they’re tough and they’re strong.”

Sussex Tech is going to try to use that running game to keep the ball away from Smyrna’s high-powered offense in next weekend’s showdown.

“The best thing for us is not to give them the football,” said Quillen.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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