Tourney QB: Delmar’s Trader shines again during Division II playoffs

Just like 2017, Dante Trader’s first start of the season at quarterback came in the first round of the playoffs. Delaware State News file photo

DELMAR — History has repeated itself at Delmar High eerily enough.

For the second year in a row, injuries have made Dante Trader the starting quarterback for the postseason.

And the defending Division II champions would have no problem if this year followed the same script as 2017 did.

Trader quarterbacked the sixth-seeded Wildcats into the DIAA state tournament semifinals. Delmar travels to fourth-seeded Woodbridge High on Friday night for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff with a berth in the Division II title game on the line.

Just like 2017, Trader’s first start of the season at quarterback came in the first round of the playoffs.

When Trader was a freshman a year ago, A.J. Angello suffered a season-ending injury early in the season. Jacob VonArx took over but was injured in the final game of the regular season, giving way to Trader for the playoff run.

This year Angello quarterbacked the Wildcats to a 9-0 record before he was hurt in the season finale two weeks ago. VonArx replaced him in that game but the Wildcats turned to Trader for the first-round game at Archmere.

Jacob VonArx did it all on Saturday at Archmere, lining up in the backfield or at wide receiver for Delmar. Delaware State News file photo

Trader recaptured his 2017 magic and threw for a pair of touchdowns along with a rushing touchdown in a 38-10 Wildcat victory.

“We already went through this,” said Delmar coach Dave Hearn. “Last year we used three and we got another with him back there who can play sitting back there with him. We’re very fortunate. We got a senior, junior and a sophomore who can all run the position and are all very talented.”

Trader is the son of Dante Trader Sr., who quarterbacked Delmar to two title games (1995, 1996) and the grandson of Donald Johnson, who was Delmar’s quarterback when the Wildcats won the state championship in 1976, He said there’s not much of an adjustment with the move to quarterback.

He was more involved in the offense this year. While in 2017 he only played safety, this year he was one of Delmar’s running backs and made the All-Henlopen Conference Southern Division First Team.

The hardest thing for him has to do with Delmar’s intricate offense.

“Just remembering the plays,” he said laughing.

“It’s a complicated offense but he’s a smart kid,” Hearn said. “He’s a 4.0 student. He handles things well and he doesn’t get flustered on either side of the ball. He plays the quarterback of the secondary too on defense, sitting back there. So he’s all over the field.”

And just because VonArx isn’t playing at quarterback, that does not mean he’s not involved in the offense.

He did it all on Saturday at Archmere, lining up in the backfield or at wide receiver. Trader found him for a 15-yard touchdown catch right before halftime which gave Delmar a 17-10 halftime lead.

Both Trader and VonArx also play defense for Delmar.

Trader recorded an interception for the Wildcats while VonArx had a sack and forced a fumble.

“He’s a strong man,” Trader said of VonArx. “We all go both ways. We love all the people that grind. Playing both ways is a grind. When you can switch positions like that (VoxArx), just love it.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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