Future Hen Reeder’s 100-yard pick keys Blue’s 31-20 win

Photos by Gary Emeigh

NEWARK — Colby Reeder didn’t really think he was going to take it all 100 yards.

But when he got to the sidelines, the Salesianum star running back saw plenty of green turf in front of him.

“It looked like the gates to heaven just opened up,” said Reeder. “I’ve just got to keep running.”

One hundred yards later, Reeder had a record-breaking interception return for a touchdown and the future Delaware linebacker was well on his way to earning Outstanding Player honors as the Blue downed the Gold, 31-20, in the 61st Blue-Gold All-Star Football Game played before a crowd of 3,241 at Delaware Stadium on Saturday night.

Reeder finished with the Blue’s first three TDs in the game as the New Castle County-based squad won its second straight in the series after snapping the Gold’s four-game winning streak a year ago.

With Dover quarterback Triston Harris leading the way — and coach Mark DelPercio of Middletown willing to open up his book of trick plays — the Gold kept the game entertaining most of the night.

When Newark’s Angel Guerrero, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound tackle, took in a short lateral and rumbled 10 yards for a TD, the Gold was back within 31-20 with 4:12 left.

But the Blue recovered the ensuing onsides kick attempt and ran out most of the clock to seal the win.

“We started off with a trick play and it was just so much fun,” said Harris. “Being able to see our left tackle get a touchdown was a great experience. It was just great seeing that and seeing wide receivers complete passes. That’s just so much fun.

“We knew we were going to competing against a good Blue squad and they got us today man,” he added “They got us good. We’re all great competitors and we worked hard on the field but we just came up short.”

“You come out here and you and you want to have some fun in a game like this,” said DelPercio. “You want to win. But these guys had a great week. I told them, many years from now, you’re not going to remember the game. You’re going to have the memories they had and they’ve made a lifetime of friends. These guys get it. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Trailing 19-7 going into the fourth quarter, the Gold kept the pressure on the Blue with a 70-yard scoring drive.

A 36-yard pass from CR’s Brian Lewis to Smyrna’s Donte Ritchie off a receiver screen set up a one-yard scoring run by Middletown’s Frankie Datillo. The touchdown cut the Blue’s lead to 19-14.

But Delcastle’s Ahmere Dorsey returned the ensuing kickoff 65 yards — only a tackle by Polytech’s Mark Bonnie saved a touchdown — as the Blue quickly answered. The long return set up a 34-yard scoring pass from William Penn’s Daniel Johnson to Mount Pleasant’s Robert Myrick as the Blue took back its two-touchdown lead.

Then, when Sallies tight end Kyle Cathers scored on a one-yard run, the Blue’s advantage had ballooned to 31-14 with 6:31 on the clock.

Lewis, a quarterback for much of his career at CR, ended up throwing two passes on receiver screens and catching another from Smyrna receiver Brandon Bishop. Lewis’ two completions totaled 79 yards with his catch picking up 36 more.

Lewis was a last-minute addition to the game, cutting short a Florida vacation and flying back to be part of the contest.

“We started talking about it on Thursday and we decided to let it rip,” Lewis said about the trick plays. “I had a blast. It was a great time, a great experience and it was just wonderful. I’ll never forget these boys.”

The contest was tied 7-7 in the second quarter when Reeder made the biggest play of the night.

With the Gold at the Blue six, Reeder intercepted a pass at the goal line, broke to the sidelines and rumbled 100 yards for a touchdown.

The interception return was the longest in Blue-Gold history. A missed PAT kick left the Blue with a 13-7 halftime advantage.

Reeder admits that running the 100 yards felt like “a mile.”

“I had enough energy to finish it,” he said. “But when I finished it, it felt like I got hit by a truck. I needed Gatorade so much.”

In the second half Reeder kept scoring, breaking loose on a 44-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter to stretch the Blue’s lead to 19-7.

Reeder finished with 144 yards on 21 carries. He came into the game knowing it was probably his last one as a running back.

“I love touching the rock,” said Reeder. “So every carry I acted like it was my last carry. The big boys up front gave me holes and I loved running behind them.”

Reeder also had a pair of sacks on defense.

“He’s the best player on the field,” said DelPercio. “There’s no surprise there.”

Harris threw for 95 yards and a touchdown while running for 47 more yards on seven carries.

Both teams got off to a fast start, scoring TDs on their first possessions of the night.

The Blue rode the running of Reeder, who capped off a 12-play, 67-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. Reeder carried the ball nine times for 57 yards on the drive.

The Gold answered right back, though, with Smyrna’s Bishop hitting Lewis on a 36-yard receiver pass on its first play from scrimmage.

Then, on a third-and-goal from the 15, Dover’s Triston Harris lobbed a nice pass to the back of the end zone that Bishop made a great diving catch on for the TD. With the score tied 7-7 after just two possessions, the two squads already had scored as many points as they did in last year’s 8-6 Blue victory.

There were plenty more points to come — just not enough for the Gold. It was hard for anybody to complain too much, though.

“I’d say this was the best week of my life coming together with this team,” said Harris. “You would think playing against these guys throughout the season that maybe you wouldn’t like them or have fun with them. But we created bonds that would last a lifetime.

“These guys are like my brothers after this week. We had so much fun and it was an honor to be able to play with them.”

Extra points

Mount Pleasant’s Ronald Shipman-Scott was named the game’s outstanding lineman. … Sallies’ Cathers and Middletown’s Peter Cox won leadership awards. …Sussex Tech’s Patrick Griffin intercepted a two-point conversion pass in the fourth quarter for the Gold. … Lewis, who also played quarterback at CR, also threw a 47-yard pass on a receiver pass in the second quarter. That gave the Gold a total of 83 yards on the two trick plays in the first half. … The Gold’s Isiah Mitchell returned an interception 36 yards in the first half. … St. Georges fullback Logan Gilbert got the ball on three fake punts for the Gold – throwing the ball twice and running it once – but didn’t convert on any of them.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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