Smyrna uses earthquake to crumble Dover 60-13

Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

SMYRNA — The formation is always there if Smyrna High wants to turn to it.

It’s called “earthquake.” It takes the state’s reigning offensive Player of the Year, running back Will Knight, puts him right behind the center and puts him around all the big bodies the team has.

Usually it’s reserved for two-point conversions and emergencies. Friday wasn’t really an emergency, but the Eagles needed something to get them going.
They turned to earthquake.

Knight spearheaded a touchdown drive out of the earthquake formation to give Smyrna a spark in the second quarter. The Eagles never stopped scoring after that, on their way to a 60-13 victory against Dover High in their Henlopen Conference Northern Division opener.

“I love running that package because it’s unstoppable,” Knight said. “If we keep pounding it, we’re physically tough, and it can get us where we need to be. It helped set the tone and helped us pull away.”

Smyrna’s typically high-powered offense was struggling early on, it had to punt once and turned the ball over on downs another time. The Eagles (4-0) were only up 14-7 after the first quarter when the call came in to send out the earthquake formation.

On the first play of the drive, Knight took a carry 24 yards. His next attempt went for 12. Then he faked the run, throwing a jump-pass for 20 yards before he finished the drive off with a 16-yard touchdown, breaking a pair of tackles along the way.

Smyrna coach Mike Judy said Dover (1-3) was over-playing the pass, so the Eagles decided to go to the run-heavy offense.

“On top of Dover being very athletic, they set out to take away some things that we like to do and forced the ball some places where we didn’t want to go,” Judy said. “We just had to adapt. They came out and punched us right in the mouth. It took us a little bit to settle in.”

As the Eagles started to mix in more pass plays later in the second quarter, Knight showed off even more of his skillset.

With the clock running down prior to halftime, senior quarterback Nolan Henderson scrambled and heaved a jumpball to the right sideline. Knight leapt over his defender to snag the ball at the 10-yard line.

“I was just calm,” Knight said. “It’s what we practice at practice, just go up and go get it.”

He stayed on his feet and pivoted toward the end zone but before he could get there the ball was knocked out by a diving Dover defender. Knight stuck with the play though and was able to recover the fumble in the end zone to give Smyrna a 30-7 advantage.

Dover scored on a 2-yard touchdown pass by sophomore quarterback Jordan Magee to Dwight Wilson in the first quarter. The Senators also made two other trips to the red zone in the first half, until the Smyrna defense shut them out the rest of the way. Dover’s only other touchdown came on freshman Javon Peace’s 86-yard kick return touchdown in the second half.

“We had to pick up the energy on the defensive side,” said senior defensive end Jamier Smith. “A lot of the veterans picked up the whole team. It was definitely a letdown to start. We kind of let down our guard, so we had to pick it up.”

Knight finished with 130 rushing yards and scored four total touchdowns. Leddie Brown chipped in a pair of rushing touchdowns for the Eagles who also scored on a 17-yard pass by Nolan Henderson to Marcus Vass. Keshaun Tolbert had the final touchdown for Smyrna on a 6-yard rush in the fourth quarter.

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