Stifling defense keys Golden Knights entering Division I tournament game vs. Appo

GEORGETOWN — The Sussex Central High football team carries a nine-game win streak into the DIAA Division I state tournament.

Maybe even more impressive is the fact the Golden Knights are on a four-game shutout streak.

Defense has led the Golden Knights to the No. 3 seed in the six-team Division I field. Sussex Central (9-1) hosts sixth-seeded Appoquinimink High tonight at 7:30 p.m.

The recent shutouts aren’t a new thing for the Golden Knights this season.

They had a streak of three shutouts earlier in the year from the third week to the fifth week. Sussex Central also only allowed a field goal in a victory over Queen Anne’s, Md. in week two.

Sussex Central has only given up at least one touchdown in just two games this year (Hodgson and Smyrna). The Golden Knights have recorded seven shutouts.

“Shutouts are nice,” said Sussex Central coach John Wells earlier this season. “And the boys are pretty proud of it, but I’ve been around the block a few times and it’s not about the shutouts. Whether it’s 25-0 or 25-20, we want to get out of dodge with the win.”

The most points scored against the Golden Knights so far was 26 in a season-opening loss to Hodgson, which finished the regular season unbeaten.

Smyrna only managed 12. Queen Anne’s had just the three, giving the Golden Knights 41 points allowed in 10 games — an average of 4.1 points allowed per game, the best mark in the state.

Sussex Central has out-scored its opponents 187-0 over the final four weeks of the season.

It is the third consecutive trip to the playoffs for the Golden Knights. They fell 12-7 in the first round last season against William Penn and also dropped a first-round contest to William Penn 38-21 in 2016.

Sussex Central has not won a state tournament game since the 2008 semifinals. Since then, the Golden Knights are 0-6 in the state tournament.

Extra points

• Delaware 105.9 FM will broadcast Sussex Central vs. Appoquinimink. Coverage begins at 7 p.m.

• Delaware ESPN 930 AM and 102.1 FM will broadcast Howard at Woodbridge (7:30 p.m. tonight) and Delmar at Archmere (1 p.m. Saturday).

• With Delmar’s loss to Woodbridge last weekend, Hodgson now has the longest winning streak in the state at 10 games. A.I. du Pont has the longest among Division II teams at nine.

• If Sussex Central wins, the Golden Knights will face Dover in the second round of the Division I tournament. If Appoquinimink wins, the Senators will face the winner of Middletown-Salesianum.

• State News sports writer Tim Mastro will be breaking down this week’s games on WGMD 92.7 with host Mike Bradley at 8:20 a.m. today.

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