Sallies controls second half, tops Dover 42-20

WILMINGTON — There’s one thing Salesianum has always done better than just about anybody.

The Sals can hang onto the football for long stretches, eating precious time off the clock and killing off the opposition’s momentum.

Sallies had one of those drives to start the second half against Dover on Saturday night and the Senators never really recovered, eventually falling to the Sals, 42-20, in a non-conference showdown played before a big crowd at Brandywine High.

Dover (0-2) trailed only 21-20 after a back-and-forth first half. But Sallies (2-0) started the third quarter with a 13-play, 60-yard march that ate up over eight minutes and put the Sals ahead, 28-20.

When an interception gave Sallies the ball right back, the Sals drove again for another TD. By the time the Sals’ third touchdown of the half stretched its advantage to 42-20, Sallies had run 29 second-half plays to just six for the Senators.

Still, coach Rudy Simonetti thought Dover played much better than it did in a 41-14 season-opening loss to Hodgson.

The Senators got three first-half touchdowns from senior Vonnie Peace as they led twice in the opening two quarters,

”Of course, you can’t give them those eight-minute drives,” said Simonetti. “It’s not the result we wanted tonight but we played with them. I saw a lot of good things tonight out of our team.

“Actually I saw a football team play tonight. We made some mistakes but they’re correctable.”

The first half was something of a scoring contest between Peace and Sallies’ standout running back, Andrew Watkins.

Peace scored on runs of one and 60 yards while adding another TD on an 85-yard catch and run from quarterback Jordan Moran. Watkins answered with scoring runs of seven and three yards while also scoring on a 93-yard kickoff return.

Peace finished the first half with 113 yards on just six carries with another 87 yards coming on a pair of receptions.

But Sallies’ ball control kept the Senators’ offense off the field in the second half until it was too late.

The contest was played at Brandywine High because Sallies is building a new home field at the old Baynard Stadium site across the street from the all-boys Catholic school’s campus.

Saturday’s game was Dover’s first matchup with Sallies since 2016. The Senators had lost at least its last five meetings with the Sals dating to 2008.

Dover plays its first home game of the season when it hosts Northeast, Md. on Friday at 7 p.m. It’s the Senators’ only home game in the first five weeks of the season.

A year ago, Dover didn’t lose its second game of the season until the DIAA Division I semifinals. But Simonetti knows that an 0-2 start doesn’t end the Senators’ playoff hopes.

“We’ve just got to put together a full four quarters of clean football,” he said. “We haven’t even started conference play yet.

“We just ran into the top two teams in the state the past two weeks. We’ll be fine.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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