Parker’s late TD carries Delmar by Woodbridge 28-21 for South title

DELMAR — Brooks Parker pointed behind him, away from the lights of Delmar High’s football stadium, and into the weight room on the side of the school.
That’s where this run started, he said.

It ended with the ball in Parker’s hands, battling his way through the line with 37 seconds remaining.

Parker’s go-ahead touchdown gave Delmar a 28-21 victory over Woodbridge High on Friday night to clinch a Henlopen Conference Southern Division Championship for the Wildcats. Delmar finished the season with a 9-1 overall record (6-0 in the conference) and has the conference’s automatic bid to next week’s state tournament.

“We worked all summer for this moment,” said Parker, a senior running back. “Everyone, myself included, were faithfully invested in the weight room right there. I could have been at the beach, I could’ve been doing something else, but we wanted this. We’ve been looking up at Milford and Woodbridge the last couple of seasons. This means a lot for us.”

It is the 13th divisional title all-time for Delmar but its first since 2009.

Delmar scored on its first possession and led most of the night before Woodbridge went ahead for the first time when junior quarterback Troy Haynes scored on a 12-yard run with 3:58 left. Dyllan Rust converted the extra-point to put the Blue Raiders on top 21-20.

The Wildcats didn’t waste any time trying to answer.

Freshman quarterback Dante Trader evaded a Woodbridge blitz before picking out tight end Zachary Covington who was wide-open behind the secondary. Covington caught the ball for a 36-yard gain to bring Delmar down to the Woodbridge 34.

Trader is Delmar’s third-string quarterback but was pressed into action in the second half because of injuries. He went 6-for-6 in passing attempts for 101 yards including a seven-yard touchdown pass to Covington.

“We told him we were going to run the ball,” said Delmar coach Dave Hearn. “Then he goes and throws perfect passes. He’s a freshman, but you can see the way he was playing on defense for us all year, he doesn’t play like a freshman.”

Trader again came up big for the Wildcats on the final drive when he converted on fourth-and-four with a five-yard run to the outside. Parker gained six yards on the next play before Trader ripped off an 11-yard run.

That set up Parker’s touchdown from six yards out with 37 seconds to go. Trader completed another pass to Parker for the two-point conversion.

“I thought the kids played great,” Hearn said. “They made big plays when they needed to.”

Woodbridge did have a chance to tie after Mike Brewer returned the ensuing kickoff into Delmar territory.

Haynes gained six yards on a scramble on the first play of the drive when the referees threw a flag after the play for offsetting personal fouls. The referees said Haynes threw a punch and he was ejected from the game.

The Blue Raiders switched Brewer to quarterback and he completed a 44-yard pass to Gabe Wescott as Woodbridge thought it had tied the game. But the play was whistled back for offensive pass interference.

Delmar forced a fumble on the final play to seal it.

“It was one of the games where it felt like whoever had the ball last was going to win,” said Woodbridge coach Ed Manlove. “I don’t know. They just made one more play than we did. I thought the referees shouldn’t have let it get that out of control.”

Woodbridge is projected to make the Division II state tournament despite the loss. The Blue Raiders might be without Haynes though who will have to sit out the next game due to his ejection but Woodbridge does have the option to appeal.

Jamon Kane paced Woodbridge with a pair of rushing touchdowns, one for 62 yards and the other for 29.

Parker had three rushing scores on the day. Delmar almost scored again off of the fumble on the game’s final play but it was called dead after a block below the waist.

It did nothing to dampen the mood though with the Wildcat players jumping into the stands to hug excited fans and celebrate the Henlopen South title.
“This is a football town,” Parker said. “When the football team is doing well, the town is doing well.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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