From the sports editor: Smyrna QB OK after scary hit

Mike Judy went through a few head injuries himself as a player.

So the Smyrna High football coach didn’t really know what was going through Aidan Sanchez’ mind when he ran out to check on his quarterback Friday night.

Sanchez lay motionless after being run over by a Salesianum defender. He made the tackle after throwing an interception.

“When I got out there and looked at him. … his eyes were open,” said Judy. “So you really don’t know, is he out? And then he immediately started talking when he realized what had happened.

Smyrna football coach Mike Judy. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

“He said, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I won’t do that again,’ — he was talking about throwing the interception. I was like, ‘Don’t worry about it.’”

It was a scary moment in the big game, which came with 3:10 left in the Eagles’ 18-10 victory. There were clearly some anxious moments for the crowd, which could only watch before Sanchez finally started moving and gave a thumbs-up before his stretcher was loaded onto an ambulance.

The good news on Saturday is that Sanchez was released from Dover’s Bayhealth Kent General after tests showed no broken bones or other significant physical damage. Many of his teammates and coaches went to the hospital to wait with his family on Friday night.

“The worst part of any sport is seeing your kids get hurt,” said Judy.

“Honestly, on film, it was a clean football hit,” he added. “It was an unfortunate happening but it was nothing outside the normal game.”

It’s too soon to say when Sanchez might be able to play again.

As is the standard now, the junior has entered a concussion protocol and will have to pass a series of tests before he’s allowed back on the field again.

In his place, sophomore Nick Richardson is tentatively set to start at QB when Smyrna hosts Sussex Tech on Friday night.

“The health of the student-athlete is always the No. 1 concern,” said Judy. “The protocols today are so good — so thorough — that as long as you just follow them, and everybody is on the same page, the steps are very-much measurable and they’re not hard to understand. It’s black and white.”

Lake’s Starkey steps down

Mike Starkey has twice built pretty good boys’ basketball programs — first at Smyrna High and then, over the last four seasons, at Lake Forest.

But, at the end of the day, he’s always been more interested in being a good father and husband. That’s why Starkey said he’s stepped down as Lake’s coach.

Lake Forest head basketball coach Mike Starkey. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

“My four kids are growing up quicker than I’d like and I just knew I didn’t want to keep missing out on certain things with my own kids,” said Starkey. “I figured I can always return to coaching at some point later on, but I can’t get these special years back with my own kids. I’m 100 percent at peace with my decision.”

Starkey led the Spartans to a four-year record of 52-32 — 30-13 over the last two seasons — with three straight state tournament appearances. He was named the Henlopen Conference Coach of the Year last winter.

Part of the issue is that Starkey is still a physical education teacher in the Smyrna School District.

“It made for some very long days because I always had to be in the late practice spot,” he said.

Shelor goes into UD Hall

A decade after her college playing career ended, former Caesar Rodney High field hockey standout Casey (Howard) Shelor was inducted into the University of Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame last weekend.

Shelor tallied 51 goals as a Blue Hen, the fourth-most in program history. That included a school-record five goals in a win over Brown.

Caesar Rodney High grad Casey (Howard) Shelor scored 51 goals as a Blue Hen. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

A four-year starter for UD, Shelor is the program’s only three-time team captain and three-time team MVP. She helped the Hens win the CAA Tournament and reach the NCAA Tournament in 2009.

Now a fourth-grade teacher at CR’s Nellie Stokes Elementary, Shelor was named the university’s Outstanding Senior Female Athlete of the Year in 2010.

“I am truly so honored,” Shelor was quoted on Bluehens.com. “I really am grateful and thankful for all the people that invested in me along the way. To get to this point, I really didn’t do it by myself. So it means a lot.”

Lydic in golf event

Sussex Academy’s Hannah Lydic took part in a national golf tournament this week.

The event, held at Pebble Beach, paired players in the PURE Insurance Championship PGA Tour Champions Tournament with 78 junior golfers and 156 amateurs. The tourney, which is being televised on the Golf Channel, is slated to finish up today.

The juniors, ages 14 to 18, were competing for the Pro-Junior Team title at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course. A 15-year-old from Ocean View, Lydic was paired with pro Jerry Smith.

In a questionnaire Lydic completed for the event, the Sussex Academy sophomore wrote about how she first learned how to play golf.

“My Dad, who is a coach and an elementary school P.E. teacher, would sit on a bucket in our garage and put balls on the tee for us to hit into a net,” she wrote. “We started using the practice facility at the local golf course and after about a year, the golf pro told my Dad that a group of members had sponsored us to be members of the club.”

Odds & ends

• Delmar High’s field hockey team has won its first six games by a combined 47-0. The Wildcats have won 49 games in a row since falling to Cape Henlopen, 1-0, on Oct. 22, 2016.

Delmar will go for its 50th straight victory on Tuesday with a 4 p.m. game at Smyrna.

• With Dover International Speedway’s fall NASCAR weekend on tap next weekend, NASCAR recently announced the starting times for next year’s schedule. Dover’s Cup race on May 3 will start at 2 p.m. while the Aug. 23 race will start at 3 p.m.

• Speaking of the Monster Mile, Dover officials buried a time capsule at the track on Monday. Some of the items in the capsule are a replica gold Monster trophy, letters by NASCAR chairman and CEO Jim France and Dover Motorsports, Inc. President & CEO Denis McGlynn as well as a USB drive that includes Dover’s 50th Anniversary historical video.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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