Golden Knights snap slide, blank Dover 34-0

Sussex Central receiver Diego Rodriiguez-Costa got behind Dover’s defense to bring down a long pass on the 1-yard line and set up the fourth touchdown in the first half for the Golden Knights. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

DOVER — It had been three weeks since Sussex Central High won a football game.

The Golden Knights don’t often lose back-to-back contests, either.

But Central made sure that short losing streak didn’t go any further as the Knights pulled away early to a decisive 34-0 victory over Dover in a Henlopen North matchup on Friday night.

Central (2-2 North, 2-2 overall) scored on each of its first four possessions to open up a comfortable 27-0 lead by halftime.

The victory also avenged a loss to the Senators (0-2 North, 0-3 overall) a year ago. Dover beat the Knights last season to snap a six-game losing streak in the series.

“It’s hard being 1-2,” said Central coach John Wells. “Your playoff hopes could be over. It’s hard to stay motivated. But you’ve got to love the game.

Jeremiah Wilson of the Golden Knights gets past Dover defenders Qaudir Nolton (7) and Byron Evans (55) to score the first TD of the night for Sussex Central.

“It’s good to be playing this game right now. We wanted to come out and play SC football as we did.”

Central, which ran for 272 yards in the contest, went right down the field on the first possession of the night. The Knights covered 65 yards on seven running plays, with Jeremiah Wilson sweeping in for the touchdown on a nine-yard run.

On its second drive, Central needed only seven plays to score again. This time the Knights went 75 yards with Phillip Stratton scoring on a five-yard run to give the Knights a 14-0 advantage early in the second quarter.

On the next two series, fullback Dion Stephens finished off the drives with short scoring runs as Central’s advantage grew to 27-0 in the second quarter.

Dover did a better job defensively in the second half against the Knights’ Wing-T.

Central’s only points after intermission came when Kristopher Shields scored on a one-yard run with 2:22 remaining.

Sussex Central speedster Phillip Stratton sprints around right end for first half yardage against Dover Friday night.

“Our effort was not good tonight in the first half,” said Dover coach Rudy Simonetti. “We flat out stunk. We were undisciplined and that can’t happen.

“I liked our effort and discipline in the second half. That was much better play. You go from (facing) the spread offense in Week 1, the Power I in week 2, and now the Wing-T in week 4, so we’ve seen it all in three weeks.”

The Senators actually had more scoring opportunities in the second half.

In the third quarter, Dover drove to the Central 28 only to have an interception by the Knights’ Sean McGee near the goal line end the threat.

Then, on their next possession, the Senators reached the Central eight only to have a fumble stop the drive. Dover, which has scored only 16 points this season, turned the ball over four times in the game.

Senior Teyvion McCoy ran for a team-high 92 yards on 14 carries.

Dover running back Qualeak Bumbrey runs over Sussex Central defender Patrick Henry for a big gain Friday night.

“We got into a rhythm,” said Simonetti. “I was happy to see us put together a nice drive. But, in the end, stupid mistakes bite you every time. Football is a game where the team that makes the least amount of mistakes wins.”

The Senators didn’t have a game last weekend after their contest with Sussex Tech was canceled. Sussex Tech missed two games after positive COVID-19 test results at the school.

Sussex Central plays at Sussex Tech next Friday.

Dover travels to Caesar Rodney next Friday. The rivalry game isn’t being played as the season finale this year with the Henlopen Conference schedule having to be juggled in this delayed, condensed season.

Dover has won back-to-back games in the series.

“We’ll get back at it on Monday and get ready for our rivals,” said Simonetti.