From the sports editor: Smyrna football on a roll

Football teams don’t win state championships in September.

But Smyrna High made itself the favorite to win the DIAA Division I state crown for a second-straight season with its impressive 60-28 win over Salesianum last Friday night.

Against the only program that beat them last season, the Eagles sprinted out to a 52-6 second-quarter lead.

Not surprisingly, coach Mike Judy doesn’t want to get too far ahead of things, though. Smyrna has played only three games after all.

“It’s such a long season and a lot of things have got to go your way,” he said. “We’ve got to stay healthy. You’re one injury away — just like any other high school team — from going from above average to average.

“(But) if we continue to stay healthy, we’re going to be in good shape.”

It’s difficult to imagine any of Smyrna’s final seven regular-season opponents knocking off the 3-0 Eagles.

They’re playing the same teams in the same order as last year. Last fall, Smyrna won those seven contests by an average margin of 42.9 points.

Dover (1-2), which the Eagles host on Friday at 7 p.m., played Smyrna closer than anybody in the Henlopen Conference last season — and still lost 40-14.

The Eagles have now won 13 games in a row and 15 of their last 16 contests. They’ve scored at least 30 points in each of those 16 games while tallying more than 50 a total of 12 times.

But there’s at least one team — not on Smyrna’s schedule — that thinks it has a shot at toppling the Eagles.

Middletown is also 3-0 and reportedly edged Smyrna on a last-second touchdown in a scrimmage just before the season started. The two old Harvest Bowl rivals haven’t met since 2012 when the series was discontinued with the Cavaliers dominating the most-recent meetings.

No doubt, a lot of people will be interested to see what Middletown does when it hosts Sallies on Oct. 7.

Of course, a lot of things have to happen first for a Smyrna-Middletown state title game to become a reality.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Smyrna’s last loss was its wild, 76-56 setback to Salesianum in September. That’s the reason the Eagles had to settle for going 15-1 in 2015.

“Basically, they were upset that they had a ‘1’ on their (championship) jackets,” newcomer Leddie Brown said about his new teammates after the Sallies game. “They were like, ‘We’ve got to get that ‘1’ off. We’ve got to prove a point tonight.’ They went out and did that.”

Maroon remembered fondly

This was all a dream come true for Bill Maroon.

In May, 1996, the Caesar Rodney High boys’ lacrosse team — a program he helped start just a couple years earlier — won its first state championship with an 8-4 win over Tatnall.cr-bill-maroon

And not only that, but Maroon’s two sons led the way. Kenny, a goalie, made a career-high 27 saves, while his brother, Billy, scored three of the Riders’ first four goals.

“He made a statement, ‘If we win, I can go to heaven with a smile on my face,’“ coach John Coveleski said about Bill after the title game.

Earlier this week, Maroon passed away at the age of 75 after battling cancer.

And his family and friends would indeed like to think he had a smile on his face after living such a full life.

A navigator in the U.S. Air Force, Maroon flew over 200 missions over Vietnam before retiring after 20 years with the rank of major as an intelligence officer. But he didn’t slow down then, working as a history teacher at CR for 13 years.

Also a volunteer tour guide at the AMC Museum at Dover Air Force Base, Maroon’s friends will remember him for his jokes and his stories.

And Maroon’s sons said at his memorial service on Wednesday that their father will be thrilled to be remembered for helping bring lacrosse to Kent County. A former midfielder at Hobart College, Maroon was inducted into the first class of the Delaware Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1999.

Coveleski said in the early days, when CR was starting out as a club program, Maroon would help get equipment to the kids as well as coaching.

“He talked about lacrosse all the time but, of course, in those days there was no lacrosse,” said Coveleski. “Not only was he a great factor (in getting the program started), he was a great influence. He virtually didn’t miss a game in all the time he was at CR, even after his sons left. … If there’s lacrosse in heaven, he’s behind it.”

CR also mourns Meyers

The Caesar Rodney High athletic community lost another behind-the-scenes mainstay when Bill Meyers passed away on Tuesday morning.

An equipment man/trainer over the years, Meyers was a fixture on the sidelines at Riders’ football games.

When he didn’t attend CR’s game with Glenn Mills on Friday, it was the first home football game anybody could remember him missing.cr-bill-meyers

Meyers had battled health problems throughout his life. In later years, he was confined to his golf cart on the track behind the CR bench.

The last couple years, Meyers also started using a wheelchair in school, where he was a health teacher.

Despite his physical limitations, though, Meyers organized conditioning programs for CR’s athletes.

Before ending up at CR, he’d worked as a trainer at both Delaware State and Wesley.

“He was a Rider through and through,” said CR athletic director Bob Beron. “He was blue and gold, no doubt about that. It’s very sad.”

Odds & ends

  • Cape Henlopen’s 1-0 overtime loss to Severna Park, Md. in field hockey on Saturday snapped an impressive 77-game unbeaten streak for the Vikings.

Cape’s last two non-victories have both been against the highly-regarded Maryland program — a 2-2 tie in 2013 and a 1-0 loss in 2012.

The Vikings still own an 89-game winning streak against Delaware schools. That streak might get its toughest test tonight when Cape hosts Delmar at 6 p.m.

The Vikings have beaten the Wildcats in four of the last five state finals.

  • Elbert Chance, the public address voice of Delaware Stadium for 49 years, died earlier this month at the age of 90. He held the job with the Blue Hens from 1952-2002.

“You knew it was a football Saturday when you heard him say, ‘Welcome to Delaware Stadium’ to start the day’s announcements … and proceedings,” said former UD athletic director Edgar Johnson. “When he stopped announcing, it just wasn’t the same. A little piece of our past and remembered glory was lost.”

  • With DelState fresh off its 79-0 loss to Missouri last Saturday, it’s worth noting that the Hornets are scheduled to play at West Virginia on Sept. 16 next football season. It will be the Hornets’ first meeting with the Mountaineers.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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