Senators hope to keep momentum up after overtime thriller

Akil Garrett

DOVER — When the ball settled into Akil Garrett’s arms, the game was officially over.

The Dover High senior wanted to keep playing though. He was thinking touchdown.

“I was like, ‘Take it to the crib,’” Garrett laughed.

But when Garrett intercepted a pass last Friday against Sussex Tech in double overtime it didn’t mean a trip to the end zone. It sent him to a huge celebration as the Senators rushed off the sideline after Garrett sealed a 30-27 victory.

With Dover in must-win mode for the rest of the season, the Senators will need more plays like that.

The Senators (4-4) host defending Division I state champion Sussex Central (7-1) tonight at 7 p.m. in a game they have to win to have any shot at the six-team Division I state tournament. It is a rematch of last year’s state semifinal which Sussex Central won 21-20 in the game’s final minute.

Dover’s playoff hopes are only still alive because of last week’s game at Sussex Tech where the Senators had to rally from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to even send the game to overtime.

The two teams exchanged touchdowns to send it to another overtime period. Dover took its lead on a 27-yard field goal by Jordan Moran.

“I was excited more than nervous,” Moran said of the opportunity. “To know that the coaches had the confidence in me to go out and kick that field goal means a lot to me.”

Moran also splits time at quarterback in addition to his kicking duties.

He scored the touchdown at the end of the first overtime to send it to a second. The Senators were facing a fourth-and-two but Moran kept the ball and was able to sneak through the line and fall forward into the end zone.

For Dover coach Rudy Simonetti, it was the first overtime game he’s been involved in as a coach.

“I was real proud of the kids,” Simonetti said. “We were down for three quarters, didn’t give up and fought back. Hats off to Sussex Tech, it was a heck of a game. Probably one of the most exciting games I’ve ever been involved in.”

“It shows a lot of resiliency,” Simonetti added. “The kids just dug deep. They didn’t let the adversity affect them in a negative way.”

Moran’s game-winner came after he missed an extra-point which would have ended the game in the first overtime. But Simonetti didn’t hesitate giving the sophomore another chance in the second.

“Jordan is a hard-worker,” Simonetti said. “Kicking is something he’s been working on all offseason long. My coaches told me he could boot it from at least the 20. We knew if the ball starts at the 10, if we can’t get in the end zone and we don’t get backed up too much, we’ll put him out there.”

The kick set the stage for Garrett’s heroics.

Sussex Tech was facing third down inside the five-yard line. The Ravens attempted to throw an out-pattern just short of the goal line by Garrett was anticipating it.

As soon as Garrett caught the ball, the play was blown dead by the referees, officially signaling the end of the contest.

“I don’t want to say I guessed the route but as I saw the quarterback rolling out I kind of bit on it,” Garrett said. “Once he threw it, I jumped the route.”

“He’s an old-school football player,” Simonetti said of Garrett. “He had a good break on the ball for the interception. He’s got ball-skills and can read things very, very well as a corner.”

The Senators trailed 21-7 at halftime and the deficit stayed that way after a scoreless fourth quarter.

Senior quarterback Elijah Allen hit junior Tyrese Sanabria, from 12 yards and 25 yards out, on both fourth quarter touchdowns to tie things at 21-21. That kind of effort is what the Senators need for the rest of the season Garrett says.

“We’re able to fight and just keep fighting,” Garrett said. “Don’t give up.”

Staff writer Tim Mastro can be reached at tmastro@newszap.com or 741-8224.

Follow @TimMastroDSN on Twitter.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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