Hornets aim for win streak at NC Central after notching first victory

Hornet quarterback Keenan Black. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — Having finally tasted a win, the Delaware State football team is hungry for more.

The Hornets snapped a 17-game losing streak on Saturday with their 17-14 victory over South Carolina State. It was the longest current streak among Division I teams.

Now the focus shifts to a 2 p.m. road matchup at North Carolina Central this Saturday. The Hornets will be looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since the 2013 season.

Fresh off the memorable victory, the Hornets want to do it again.

“I feel like this is just the start,” said sophomore quarterback Keenan Black. “We’ve been working hard since the spring. The win is a weight off our shoulders and it shows us that we can do it.”

Coach Kenny Carter said the Hornets didn’t waste much time celebrating before shifting their focus to earning another win to help turn a 1-6 season.

“What they said on the field was, ‘That’s number one,’” Carter said. “As soon as the last second ticked off the clock that’s what they said. That tells you they understand. We’ve been so close so many times but fell short because of details. Saturday was the first time we actually played together in all three phases. I was excited to see it all come together.”

The Hornets were even more encouraged by how they won.

Delaware State had to engineer a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. The Hornets responded to 14 unanswered points by South Carolina State with a Wisdom Nzidee field goal before the defense held South Carolina State scoreless on its final three drives.

“We kept calm and stayed positive,” Black said. “You can’t let a situation like that get you down. We’ve been in situations like that before where it’s like, ‘Oh, snap.’ But this time we kept our heads up and stayed positive.”

Black was making his first start of the season after splitting snaps with true freshman Jack McDaniels for a majority of the first six games of the year.

Against South Carolina State, Black played every series but one.

He finished with a career-high 218 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns. Black completed 14 out of his 27 passing attempts.

It was the first career start for the sophomore who was listed as a quarterback last season but mostly played wide receiver in 2016.

“The more he plays and the more he gets a feel for things he’ll only get better,” Black said. “He’s so athletic but we’re forcing him to be a quarterback in the sense of making the reads, making the throws. We got so many good receivers so let them go get the ball. He did that Saturday.”

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