Tourney excitement: Smyrna, Woodbridge eye semifinals today

21dsn Smyrna vs Mt Pleasant Football 007 by .

Smyrna sophomore running back Will Knight runs for yardage in last week’s playoff win over Mount Pleasant. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

It’s the upstart against the defending champions in Division I.

In Division II, it’s a team fresh off one upset looking for another against the top seed.

There’s plenty of intrigue as two football semifinals kick off today at 1 p.m. Third-seeded Smyrna High travels to No. 2 William Penn in Division I while seventh-seeded Woodbridge looks to keep its run going at top seed St. Georges in Division II.

Smyrna and Woodbridge are each hoping to make the championship in their respective division for the first time.

“This has been a goal for us forever,” said Smyrna senior wide receiver Brandon Bishop. “It’s kind of surreal that we’ve made it to this point. We definitely know what we want to accomplish and we definitely want to continue to work to that goal. This is one of the goals you want to achieve ever since you were in the Pop Warner program.”

The Eagles will have to go through a William Penn team who has only lost once in the last two seasons. The Colonials are the reigning champions and could be the best defense Smyrna has seen this season.

Smyrna is averaging 55 points a game but William Penn is giving up just 12.8 points a game — the second best mark in the state.

And the Colonials can score too. Their average of 36.7 points a game is second in Division I to Smyrna.

Smyrna coach Mike Judy is expecting an explosive matchup between two highly athletic teams.

“We say, we’re a pretty fast team and William Penn is a pretty fast team,” Judy said.

Woodbridge is back in the semifinals for the second time in the past three seasons.

The Blue Raiders fell to St. Georges in the 2013 state tournament, one game shy of the title game. They have a chance for revenge this year.

St. Georges (10-1) hasn’t lost to a Division II all season. Woodbridge carries a six-game winning streak into today’s contest.

The young Blue Raiders are fresh off an upset of No. 2 seed Delaware Military Academy last Saturday. Woodbridge, one of the smaller teams in the state in terms of roster size, has 23 freshmen and sophomores on its squad.

“We’re so small with a 600 student school,” said Woodbridge coach Ed Manlove. “It’s good for the community and it’s great for morale in the school. It’s just a great feeling to have these kids come out and work so hard. We have a lot of young kids on the field. There’s a lot of freshmen out here starting and they have even better days ahead. This is just awesome.”

There is guaranteed to be a first-time champion in Division II this year after Howard defeated Wilmington Friends Friday afternoon to make the championship game. St. Georges has played in the state title game once before in 2013 while Woodbridge hasn’t made it past the semifinals.

Of the remaining Division I teams, Smyrna is the only one without a Division I state championship.

Delaware 105.9-FM and will broadcast the Woodbridge-St. Georges game. The Ticket 1290-AM is planning to air the Smyrna-William Penn game.

Goal-line stand gives Sals semifinal win over Cavs

Top-seeded Salesianum made a fourth-down stop just short of the goal line to preserve a 27-21 win over No. 4 Middletown in the DIAA Division I football state tournament semifinals on Friday night.

The Cavaliers faced a fourth-and-goal at the two with just nine seconds left when the Sals (10-1) made their goal-line stand inside the one.

Sallies will face the winner of the Smyrna-William Penn game in the Division I state title game next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Delaware Stadium in Newark.

The game was tied 21-21 when the Sals’ Michael Drake returned an interception 73 yards to the Middletown two. Colby Reeder’s touchdown run from there gave Sallies its 27-21 lead with 6:06 remaining.

Xavia Green’s fumble recovery at the Sals’ 18 set up the Cavs’ final drive. Middletown (9-3) had reached six straight state championship games.


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