Smyrna tops Dover 36-26 for 4th straight victory

DOVER — Nobody’s saying they’re playing at a Will Knight-Nolan Henderson level just yet.

But as far as Smyrna High running back-quarterback duos go, Wayne Knight and Aidan Sanchez are starting to make a name for themselves, too.

Sanchez threw for three touchdowns while Knight ran for two and passed for another as the Eagles held off Dover, 36-26, in a Henlopen North football showdown on Friday night.

In the kind of performance big brother, Will, would be proud of, Knight also ran for a pair of two-point conversions and threw for one as Smyrna (3-0 North, 4-2 overall) ran its winning streak to four in a row. Senior receiver Mahki Jackson added three TD receptions in helping the Eagles clear another big hurdle in their big to re-claim the North title.

Smyrna more or less sewed up the victory when Jackson caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez with 7:10 remaining in the game.

It was free-wheeling finish, though, as Dover (1-2 North, 2-4 overall) scored two touchdowns in the final 5:37. The two squads combined for 32 fourth-quarter points.

Smyrna was glad to get a two-yard scoring run from Knight with 2:03 remaining. That touchdown was set up by a 42-yard run from Sanchez.

Sanchez, who was playing his first game since taking a hard hit in a win over Salesianum two weeks ago, completed 23-of-32 passes for 210 yards. But the junior also ran for 102 yards on 12 carries.

“It feels amazing, I’m just happy to be back on the field,” said Sanchez. “Even in the game (last week) I wanted to (play) but I’ve got to take precautions for my own health.

“I love Wayne (Knight). He’s amazing to have in the backfield. He’s a strong runner — he doesn’t go down easily. He makes everything easier.”

Knight added 72 yards on 21 carries and another 68 yards on five receptions.

Dover, which lost its second game in a row, got 79 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries plus 28 yards on a pair of catches from Vonnie Peace.

“That’s a good, athletic team,” Smyrna coach Mike Judy said about Dover. “They did a great job. They had a great game plan and Peace was Peace when he had to be.

“The hole offense — but those two (Sanchez and Knight) — is starting to get it going,” said Judy.

The Eagles went into halftime with a 20-10 lead after Wayne Knight scored on a two-yard run with 1:45 left in the second quarter. The TD capped off a 60-yard, eight-play march.

Knight’s two-point conversion run pushed Smyrna’s lead to 10 points.

All three of the Eagles’ first-half scoring drives covered at least 60 yards.
Dover had just pulled within 12-10 on Jordan Moran’s 29-yard field goal with 4:26 remaining before intermission.

Jackson had a pair of touchdown catches for Smyrna in the first. The senior’s 15-yard scoring reception from Adrian Sanchez gave the Eagles a 12-7 lead with 6:47 remaining in the first half.

Smyrna used a trick play to score on the game’s first drive. Facing a fourth-and-two from the Dover 18, Knight took a pitch, pulled up and threw to wide-open Jackson for the touchdown.

The Senators did stuff the two-point conversion attempt to limit the Eagles’ advantage to 6-0. Smyrna’s opening drive went 12 plays, covered 70 yards and lasted almost six minutes.

“It sparks the offense,” said Knight, who has thrown two TD passes this season. “It gets us going and just gives our whole team a boost.”

Dover then answered with a defensive touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Junior Teyvion McCoy intercepted a pass in the flat and returned it 14 yards for the TD.

Moran’s PAT kick gave the Senators a 7-6 lead with 10:54 left in the second quarter.

Peace scored 17 touchdowns in Dover’s first five games, including 14 on the ground. He was also close to 1,000 rushing yards on the season.

Dover had another defensive touchdown on a 45-yard fumble return wiped out by a block in the back penalty.

“Hats off to Smyrna,” said Senator coach Rudy Simonetti. “That defense is legit. We’ve got to knock make key mistakes in key moments like that.”

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