From the sports editor: Adult hockey team sticks with success

East Coast Motor’s Tristin Burris hits the ball against two Girls With Sticks defenders during the City of Dover Women’s Field Hockey playoffs at old Dover High. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

Buster Neeman can’t even tell you how many titles his team has won.

Thirty-four years is a lot of seasons to remember and East Coast Motor Cars has captured more than its share of championships in the City of Dover Women’s Field Hockey League.

When East Coast topped Envirocorp, 3-0, last Sunday to take this year’s crown, it was its 10th Dover playoff title just since 2000. And East Coast has taken the regular-season outdoor championship 14 times in that span.

“It’s probably been 20-plus (titles),” said Neeman, the squad’s coach.

In 34 seasons, East Coast has had plenty of different players come and go, naturally.

The 23 players on this year’s roster range in age from 18 to 57 and represent 11 different high schools — including 10 former Lake Forest High players. That group includes Neeman’s wife, Nancy, and daughter, Taryn.

Buster, a high school referee as well as a coed player himself, said there’s just a lot of women who want to keep playing the game when their high school or college careers are over.

“I’ve had some new girls come in and then some get too old to play,” said Neeman, who lives in Felton. “Some people are in their 70s (now) that used to play with us back when we first started.

East Coast Motor’s Maria Collier hits the ball past Angela Wilson of Girls With Sticks during the City of Dover Women’s Field Hockey playoffs at old Dover High School. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

“It’s the love of the game. The people that stick with this in their 40s and 50s absolutely love the game and usually are strong players. … Some get a little bit older and they’re like, ‘Man, I’m getting old to be running up and down the field.’ ”

That pattern has repeated itself time and time again, with younger players coming in to replace the older ones.

Despite East Coast’s success, Neeman said he’s never tried to take winning titles for granted. This was only the team’s third Dover playoff crown in the last six years.

“We play against some tough teams,” said Neeman. “There’s good players on all the teams.”

Local NFL notes

Former Wesley College star quarterback Joe Callahan made his preseason debut with the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, completing 3-of-4 passes for 30 yards in a 29-0 win over Jacksonville.

Another former Wolverine, Matt Gono, is second on the depth chart at left tackle for the Falcons.

Delmar’s Alex Ellis saw action for the Eagles against the Titans on Thursday night but didn’t have a catch.

Delaware State’s Rodney Gunter is listed as one of the Cardinals’ starting defensive ends. The fifth-year pro has started 25 times while playing in all 64 games of his NFL career so far.

Delaware grad Nick Boyle is listed as the Ravens’ starting tight end while another former Blue Hen, Charles Scarff, is fourth on the depth chart at the same position.

Delaware’s Nasir Adderley, a second-round draft pick of the Chargers, is only fourth on the depth chart at safety. He did recently get to practice against former Blue Hen teammate Troy Reeder, who is third at one of the inside linebacker spots for the Raiders.

World according to Rocco

Delaware football coach Danny Rocco usually has some interesting observations on a variety of subjects.

CAA Media Day in Baltimore a few weeks ago was no exception.

Here’s a few things Rocco had to say that didn’t make it into any stories:

• On the start of preseason camp: “Am I looking forward to getting migraine headaches? No. Am I excited about being overheated every day? No. I’m going to lose my voice in two days. The Lord willing I don’t get an aneurysm.

“But that’s camp. That’s what camp is. … I love the process — the routine, the rhythm of the day, of the week. I love the regiment of the job and of the camp.”

• On his belief that the seniors are the most important players on each year’s team: “My obligation is to my seniors. I know it’s not an answer that everyone wants to hear. I know it’s not the most popular answer.

“But if you are a senior on this year’s team, ‘You’d say Coach, that’s a great answer.’ I am making decisions to create the best opportunities for these seniors to have a very positive experience.”

• On what he likes about the huddle in football: “The dynamics in the huddle are one of the greatest things in football. To be able to be standing with a group and sending them on the field, or being out there on the field in the huddle, looking in their eyes and seeing their demeanor and measuring their confidence … “

• On James Madison, Maine and Towson being the top three teams in the CAA preseason poll: “I think from a personnel standpoint, the top three were probably pretty concrete. My wife probably could have predicted the top three.”

Odds & ends

The Wesley College football team will open its second preseason with Chip Knapp as head coach on Wednesday. The Wolverines’ first game is at Franklin Pearce on Sept. 7. … Wesley men’s basketball coach Dean Burrows was hoping to get Delaware State on the Wolverines’ regular-season schedule this year. But he’ll settle for having Wesley play an exhibition game at DSU on Nov. 2. … Dylan Painter, the 6-foot-10 Villanova transfer, collected 26 points and nine rebounds in Delaware’s 119-85 men’s basketball win over IBA Elite in the Bahamas on Friday. Another transfer, Justyn Mutt, added 21 points.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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