Howard nabs spot in D-II finals with 50-29 win over Delmar

Quarterback Jacob VonArx reels back and tosses a six-yard TD strike to Zach Covington. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

DELMAR — It was a familiar position for Delmar High.

After falling into an early 22-0 hole in the opening quarter, the Wildcats started clicking on both sides of the ball.

Trailing by three scores, the second-seeded Wildcats responded with three touchdowns over the next 12 minutes to cut into the lead.

Although they pulled to within six points at halftime, the scoring surge wasn’t enough as Howard High pulled away for a 50-29 win Friday night in the DIAA Division II football state semifinals.

The double-digit victory puts fourth-seeded Howard in their first D-II title game since defeating St. Georges Tech High, 28-13, in the 2015 championship.

The Wildcats (11-1) will face top-seeded Woodbridge High, the defending champion, next Saturday at the University of Delaware.

Delmar, making its third consecutive appearance in the semifinal round, was looking to earn the program’s second title game appearance in three seasons. The Wildcats earned a 14-7 title win over Milford High in 2017.

Sophomore running back Kevin Ignudo led Howard’s scoring, registering four total touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving). His TD runs were from one, 11 and 48 yards out.

Junior Karvin Reeves picked up a fumble and rumbled for an 85-yard touchdown return on Delmar’s first offensive possession. He also put the finishing touches on the 50-point game with a one-yard rushing score with just over six minutes remaining.

Te’Kwon Dennard stiff arms a Howard defender on one of his 11 carries.

Freshman Keshaun Watson also ran for a one-yard touchdown, while junior Tyair Spencer was the one to hit Ignudo through the air on a 32-yard scoring strike.

Howard picked off three passes in addition to its fumble return touchdown.

It was just a week ago, in a 32-19 quarterfinal win over Lake Forest High, that the Wildcats dug themselves a double-digit first quarter deficit. They nearly did the same in the first half behind senior quarterback Jacob VonArx’s strong play under center.

VonArx completed nine of his 17 pass attempts for 140 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also ran for 53 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

Senior running back Te’Kwon Dennard rushed for 69 yards on his 11 carries.

Jamar Cuffee was a force on defense, recording a pair of sacks and returning a fumble recovery for a Delmar touchdown in the first half.

Delmar had a tough start as Ignudo scored on a one-yard touchdown run and Reeves scored a few plays later on his fumble recovery TD run to put Howard ahead 16-0 with 8:06 remaining in the first quarter.

A one-yard touchdown from the freshman Watson put Howard ahead 22-0, but VonArx’s seven-yard TD on a keeper with 21 seconds left in the first quarter put Delmar on the board, 22-7.

After Ignudo’s one-yard score with 8:59 remaining in the half put Howard back ahead by three touchdowns, Delmar stole the momentum with consecutive scores.

VonArx hit Zach Covington for a six-yard touchdown pass and the successful two-point attempt brought the Wildcats within 28-15 with 5:14 left until halftime.

Cuffee, just a few plays later, picked up a Howard fumble inside the 10-yard line and returned it the rest of the way for the defensive score to pull to within 28-22 at the break.

Howard eventually pulled away with three second-half scores to cement the trip to the state finals.

VonArx’s six-yard touchdown strike to senior Vershawn Spence from eight yards out was the lone Delmar score in the second half.

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