Knight’s play energizes the Eagles

Smyrna running back Wayne Knight had a 62-yard touchdown catch in Friday’s 54-13 win over Cape Henlopen. (Special to the Delaware State News/Chuck Snyder)

It probably should have been a forgettable play.

Wayne Knight was only a couple yards past the line of scrimmage when he caught the pass heading toward the Smyrna High sidelines.

And the Eagles’ running back was surrounded by three Cape Henlopen defenders.

But Knight decided to make something happen.

Slamming on the brakes, he completely changed direction, somehow kept his balance and sprinted back across the field. Racing past more Vikings’ defenders, Knight got to the opposite sidelines, picked up a wall of blockers and turned it into a 62-yard touchdown catch.

Smyrna coach Mike Judy, whose team beat Cape, 54-13, on Friday night, called it a “crazy athletic play.”

“Cape had come off of another route and saw him coming on a crossing route,” said Judy. “Cape played it really well. They were right on it.

“He was getting hit as he caught the ball. He put his hand down and just made an outstanding, athletic play. But he’s an explosive kid. Any time the ball is in his hands, he can make a guy or two miss. Especially when he gets his shoulder north-south, he’s dangerous as heck.”

The Eagles have been making those kind of dynamic offensive plays for five seasons now. This season, they’ve already scored 94 points with quarterback Aidan Sanchez throwing nine TD passes in their 2-0 start.

Smyrna has now scored 50 points or more in 27 of its last 60 games.

The Eagles have been able to keep up that pace despite the turnover of players, including this fall, when they have a number of new offensive starters. They out-gained Cape, 498 yards to 256, on Friday.

“They’re doing a fantastic job getting better each week,” said Judy. “I’m happy where we are. But we definitely want to try to get better.

“It’s not having a pre-season, it’s not having a weight room. The kids have missed out on so much stuff since March. Every team is suffering kind of the same way. The things that we were not able to address in the off-season, they’re kind of showing themselves. But we’re trying to make up it in other ways.”

Smyrna knows it has to get better by next Friday night when it travels to Sussex Central for a big Henlopen North showdown.

The Golden Knights have played the Eagles as tough as anyone in the North, limiting Smyrna to 22 points or less in three of their last four meetings. The fact that Central was knocked off by Caesar Rodney, 16-14, on Friday doesn’t change the fact that the Smyrna-Central game could still decide the North title.

“That loss last night says nothing to the quality of the team we’re going to be facing,” said Judy.

CR riding high

Caesar Rodney, of course, is feeling pretty good after its big win over Sussex Central.

It’s the first time the Riders have started a season 2-0 since 2017.

“This team has really taken everything in stride,” said CR coach Dan Candeloro. “Our whole senior class has bought in. We’re pretty excited about this group. We practice how we play. Every play is important and you have to win all three phases of the game.”

Caesar Rodney’s Julian Harris rushes against Sussex Central’s Skyler McVicker Friday night. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

The Riders play at Delmar on Friday night looking for the program’s first 3-0 start since 2008, the season it last won the DIAA Division I state title.

Laurel-IR game postponed

Friday night’s Laurel at Indian River game was postponed because of wet field conditions at IR.

The two teams will now play on Monday at 7 p.m.

The situation also means both squads will have short weeks before their next games. IR plays Polytech on Friday with Laurel facing Seaford.

Both the Bulldogs and Indians won their Henlopen South openers the previous week so the winner of Monday’s contest will technically lead the division.

Woodbridge is still slated to miss its third game next weekend because of positive COVID-19 tests at its school while Delmar just played its first game.

There still seems to be no definitive word on whether football games not played for virus issues will be considered forfeits or ‘no contest.’ The Henlopen Conference athletic directors meet again on Monday.

Carney talks about fans

At most Delaware schools, only two people per home-team participant are permitted at football games.

The restriction is because there’s a state limit of 250 people per event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. John Carney talked about the situation during his pandemic update this week.

“I certainly appreciate the desire of parents to watch their young athletes compete in whatever sport it is,” he said. “There’s just nothing like it. But this is really about getting the kids to play again.

“We’re very concerned still about the spread of the virus. We know that it happens when people let their guards down. … People just need to follow those social-distancing guidelines and mask-wearing. That will help prevent the spread of the virus. We certainly wouldn’t want to see sports having to be shut down because spectators didn’t follow the rules.”

Sessoms a good catch

Dover High’s offense is still trying to find its way. But big tight end/receiver Elijah Sessoms has shown he can be a reliable pass-catcher for the Senators.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound junior has 11 catches for 77 yards in two games. He’s gotten some tough yards in third-down situations.

“He can do it all,” said Senators coach Rudy Simonetti. “He’s a red-zone threat, a possession receiver. We try to stretch him deep a little bit. He’s a big-bodied kid so (QB) Jordan (Moran) can kind of throw it up and he can go grab it.”

Extra points

Lake Forest’s 20-19 loss at St. Mark’s was decided on a two-point conversion attempt with just 4:19 remaining. Lake ran a pitch to the left — right into a blitzing St. Mark’s defender. … Running back Jaylin Warner got Delmar’s season off on the right foot when he went 65 yards for a touchdown on the Wildcats’ first play from scrimmage against Seaford. … The starting time for the Dover-Polytech game, being played on the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 27), has been moved to noon.