Fake punt sparks Smyrna to 46-11 victory over Sussex Tech

SMYRNA — Stuck in a rut, Smyrna High needed something to get its offense going.

It just so happened the Eagles had a play they’ve been working on for a few weeks.

A fake punt sparked Smyrna to 24 unanswered points in the second half and a 46-11 victory over Sussex Tech in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division football contest on Friday night. It also clinched Smyrna’s third consecutive Henlopen North title.

The game was 22-11 late in the third quarter when the Eagles were facing a fourth and long in their own territory. They lined up in punt formation but the ball went to Hunter Moyer instead who rumbled down the sideline for 15 yards and a first down.

Two plays later, the Eagles were in the end zone.

“I’m definitely not going to take credit for changing the game,” Moyer, a senior defensive end, said. “But I feel like we needed something, a big play to get us going. When we called that play I was like, ‘It’s on me.’ Once I did that, the offense stepped up and the defense kept grinding. I was proud of the boys.”

It was Moyer’s first carry as a varsity player. He did play some running back for Smyrna’s freshman team three years ago.

Smyrna’s special teams coordinator Mike Zulkowski installed the play a couple of weeks ago.

“The first day it went in I loved it,” said Smyrna head coach Mike Judy. “We just haven’t been in a position to run it until tonight. Hats off to Mike for a great play.”

After the fake punt, Smyrna senior quarterback Isaiah Wilson threw for three touchdowns.

When Smyrna’s offense went back on the field Wilson hit Will Knight for a 26 yard pass. The next play was a touchdown as Emon Roberts caught a pass near the sideline, stayed in bounds and avoided a pair of Raven defenders on his way to the end zone.

“I got the block from Marcus Vass, my right hand man,” Roberts said. “He did me well.”

The Eagles kept up the offensive explosion on the next drive when Wilson connected with Knight again, this time for a 76-yard touchdown pass on the first play. Wilson added another touchdown, a 49-yard pass on fourth down to Roberts.

That made the offensive lull the Eagles fell into early in the second half a distant memory.

“We had to put it together as a team,” Roberts said. “We had to connect again.”

Wilson also scored on a 13-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter. Knight had rushing touchdowns of 45 and 55 yards in the first half.

The Ravens points came from a one-yard rush by quarterback Ricky Kane, a safety where Smyrna snapped a punt out of the end zone and a 28-yard field goal by Michael Barr.

Smyrna has not lost a Henlopen North contest since the final game of the 2014 season to Cape Henlopen.

It was also senior night for the Eagles, the senior class all celebrated under the scoreboard after the game for its third Henlopen North championship.

“It’s really great,” Moyer said. “That’s goal one every year.”

“It’s awesome,” Judy said. “I’m super proud of these guys. We talked this weak about young they were when we won our first one. They obviously took notes from those seniors that year. They learned how to work and approached the week. The best thing about the conference is obviously the tradition but also the automatic bid. We know two weeks from now won’t be our last game.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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.