Smyrna rides Knight over Sussex Central

Eagle powerhouse Will Knight breaks away from Josiah Blake of the Golden Knights for a touchdown in the first half. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

SMYRNA — With the Henlopen Conference Northern Division title possibly on the line, it was obvious who Smyrna High would turn to.

Star senior running back Will Knight got the ball early and often. And by the time the fourth quarter came, Knight was reeling off the big gains he is known for.

Knight carried the ball 33 times for 366 yards and recorded all seven touchdowns in a 46-13 victory over previous unbeaten Sussex Central High on Friday night.

“He’s a dangerous runner and we wouldn’t be smart coaches if we didn’t feed him the ball when it’s crunch time,” said Smyrna coach Mike Judy. “I’ve never seen a guy like him in all my years of coaching.”

Smyrna’s Will Knight is stopped by Sussex Central defender Isaac Barnes after a short gain in the first half of game Friday night.. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

Knight really hit his stride in the fourth quarter, gaining 160 yards on just four carries.

On his first carry of the fourth he broke through the middle of the Central line and raced up the middle of the field for a 74-yard touchdown. The next time Knight got the ball he scored on a 53-yard touchdown.

Knight wrapped up the day with a 27-yard score on the final drive. After the game he also got to collected his crown for winning Smyrna’s homecoming king.

Smyrna improved to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the Henlopen North. Sussex Central dropped to 2-1 in the North and 5-1 overall.

The Eagles got a scare from Sussex Central last season in Georgetown when they needed 22 points in the fourth quarter to rally from a 14-0 deficit. This time, Smyrna got off to a better start and never trailed on Friday night.

“That was motivation because going down there last year we kind of slipped even though we came up with win,” Knight said. “We slipped and gave them an advantage, thinking they could compete with us. But tonight we executed and did what we needed to do.”

Sussex Central pulled within 18-13 just before halftime before the Eagles scored the game’s final 28 points.

Zion Reed of Sussex Central is brought down by the Eagle defense for a loss. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

The game swung when Smyrna’s Jeremy D’Aguiar intercepted a wayward pass to halt the Golden Knights’ first drive of the third quarter. Knight then scored a touchdown from three yards out on the ensuing Smyrna drive.

Knight’s longest run of the night was 34 yards before the fourth quarter when two of his four rushes went for 50 yards or more.

“We stayed constant being who we are and how we can play,” Knight said. “We just go for the five, six yards to keep the chains moving, sooner or later it will break open.”

“If you keep feeding him the ball and wear the other team down, no one is going to catch him when he’s in the open field,” Judy said.

Sussex Central was led by a three-yard rushing touchdown by Zion Reed and a 26-yard pass for a touchdown on fourth down in the second quarter by Isaac Barnes to Isaiah Barnes.

“Coach [John] Wells does a great job with his team and he’s got another great team,” Judy said. “We knew we’d have to battle from the get-go. Coming out and scoring early really helped. They fought and did everything they could and I think we made some good halftime adjustments and were able to take advantage later.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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