First-year QB Magee makes solid strides for Dover

Jordan Magee

Jordan Magee

DOVER — When Rudy Simonetti arrived as the new football coach at Dover High, he inherited a team without a quarterback.

So Simonetti set out to find one. His search led him to sophomore Jordan Magee.

“The old rule of thumb is you take your best athlete and make him a quarterback,” Simonetti said. “We feel like Jordan is one of, if not our best athlete on the team. Jordan is a great kid, smart and works hard, which is everything you look for in a quarterback.”

Magee now has four starts under his belt as he leads the Senators into a Henlopen Conference Northern Division clash at Polytech tonight at 7 p.m. Both teams are 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the Henlopen North.

Simonetti said he was confident his staff could teach Magee how to play the position for this season. Then it sets Dover up for two more years with an experienced quarterback.

The Senators also run a lot of plays out of the spread formation, so having someone who can run and throw adds another element opposing defenses need to prepare for.

It wasn’t hard to sell Magee on the idea.

“You get to touch the ball every play,” Magee said with a laugh.

Magee had never played quarterback in organized football until a summer camp in June in Middletown.

He spent the summer workouts with Jason Hunt, Dover’s offensive coordinator, learning the finer points of playing the position.

Also helping Magee was the veteran core at the skill positions. Dover returned senior running backs Jerry Warren and John Rodel Castro at running back and senior Dwight Wilson at wide receiver.

They were all there to guide their new sophomore quarterback through the growing pains.

“It started in the summer for him,” Warren said. “It was a big learning experience for him and the seniors were all with him pushing him. He’s getting better and better.”

“He’s still growing a little bit,” Wilson said. “But he’s getting better each game. We’ve got a lot of seniors around him and we’re always telling him to keep his head up, don’t get down and to keep fighting.”

It was obvious coming into the season Dover would have a strong ground game behind Warren and Castro — two of the conference’s leading returning rushers. But the passing game had some question marks even after Magee was given the quarterback spot.

The Senators got a boost with the addition of Jhalil Mosley, a 6-foot-4 basketball player, which has helped open up the passing game.

“Our receivers have definitely stepped up,” Wilson said. “Jhalil has given us a big target. That takes a lot of pressure off me. He really opened my eyes and impressed me. Honestly I thought our receiving core was going to be weak this year, but they’ve shocked me and I know they got my back.”

In Dover’s lone win this year, Magee ran for a touchdown and threw the game-winner to Castro in a 14-7 defeat of Lake Forest.

The Senators fell to defending state champion Smyrna last week, but they saw a lot of positives in the first half. Dover was very much in the game at 14-7 with multiple trips to the red zone before the unbeaten Eagles erupted in the second half and went on to win 60-13.

Magee’s day was highlighted by some key third and fourth down conversions to Mosley and Wilson. He threw one touchdown, a 2-yard bullet to a leaping Wilson.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Magee said. “Every game we get better. We always try to fix our mistakes that we made the last game and come to practice with a good attitude.”

Even at 1-3, the Senators, especially the seniors who have gone through back-to-back losing seasons, still have their eyes set on a winning record. “As a leader I had to push everybody that we had a big challenge this year coming in from 4-6 last year,” Warren said. “Our offensive line is really coming together as one and the defense is getting stronger and stronger each day.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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