Smyrna Eagles to fly for final time at Blue-Gold game

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NEWARK — As the Smyrna High School players walked the field at Delaware Stadium Sunday, they were able to relive the best moment of their high school football careers.

For the first time since winning the DIAA Division I football championship on Dec. 5, four Eagles returned to the scene for the Blue-Gold senior all-star football game’s media day on Sunday.

“It brings back some memories,” said offensive lineman Terren Carter.

The 61st annual Blue-Gold will take place Saturday night at Delaware Stadium on the campus of the University of Delaware at 6 p.m. Carter, defensive lineman Jeff Campbell, wide receivers Brandon Bishop and Donte Ritchie will represent Smyrna on the Gold team.

They all played pivotal roles in Smyrna’s march to its first Division I football state championship.

On Sunday they remembered the craziness that unfolded during their 32-26 overtime victory over Salesianum. Ritchie said what stood out to him the most was the sea of red in the stands behind the Smyrna bench that day.

“We brought the whole town with us,” Ritchie said.

“We filled up our side of the stadium and Sallies didn’t. That really impressed me a lot. It showed us how much the community cared about us.”

Campbell was the only one of the four on the field for the deciding play.

With four-and-inches on the goal-line, Sallies gave the ball to star running back Colby Reeder, who will be opposing the Gold squad as a member of

Smyrna High School football players Brandon Bishop, left, and Jeff Campbell were on the field at Delaware Stadium Sunday for the first time since the Eagles won the Division I state championship against Salesianum on Dec. 5.

Smyrna High School football players Brandon Bishop, left, and Jeff Campbell were on the field at Delaware Stadium Sunday for the first time since the Eagles won the Division I state championship against Salesianum on Dec. 5.

the Blue on Saturday. Linebacker Eli Hutchinson led the charge and stopped Reeder short of the end zone

Campbell was on the bottom of the pile for that play.

“They (Sallies) took everybody and blocked down on me,” he recalled. “The linebackers took over and won a championship for us.”

The goal-line stop set off a wild celebration.

“Everybody was on the field, watching the stands full of red, I never saw that many people together,” Carter said.

As part of the Blue-Gold game, each athlete is paired with a “buddy” through the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with Intellectual Disabilities’ Hand-in-Hand program.

Aside from the camp this week, the program includes events like bowling and pizza parties where the players can bond with their buddies.

“I think it’s awesome that the kids can get out and interact with people in the community,” Campbell said. “My buddy looks up to me not as a football player but as a person. It’s a real good thing that we got going on here.”

“It’s more than a game,” Carter said. “It’s building a connection with our buddies.”

Before Saturday’s game, all buddies and players will be honored on the field as part of the festivities.

Then the Eagles will have one more chance to be on the same team for a football game.

“I’m excited to play with these three guys for another game,” Ritchie said.

“I’m going to miss them. It was a great season, and a great high school career running with them. This week is going to be pretty fun with them.”

“It’s awesome to play with my brothers one more time,” Campbell said.

“It’s my last game ever and it’ll be something I’ll never forget.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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