Two-time state champion Smyrna notches first win 30-18 over Irvington, NJ

SMYRNA — The game took nearly three hours to complete, but the final score was worth the wait.

For the first time this season, two-time defending football state champion Smyrna High walked off the field with a win.

Playing before a typically large crowd at Charles V. Williams Stadium, the Eagles never trailed in a 30-18 triumph over Irvington, New Jersey.

With a staunch defense and run-oriented offense leading the way, Smyrna scored the first 22 points of the game and then held off a team that had outscored its foes 66-7 in two blowout wins this season.

Akil Garrett Jr.’s 35-yard interception return for a touchdown put Smyrna up 30-12 with 3:17 left, erasing any lingering doubts that the hosts could fall for the third straight game this season. Jeremy D’Aguiar’s diving interception near the sideline late in the third quarter was a momentum booster as well.

The Eagles went up three touchdowns when Makhi Jackson snagged a ball that popped up in the air off a defender and went 85 yards for a score with 3:43 left in the third quarter.

Playing without injured all-state running back Will Knight, Smyrna turned mostly to standout junior Stephen Whaley, who spent most of the night constantly fighthing for yards up the middle, scoring two touchdowns and three two-point conversion runs.

The Eagles methodically went 98 yards on 18 plays to end the first half, with Whaley scoring on a two-yard touchdown rush with 19 seconds left to break up a scoreless contest. Smyrna’s defense had just completed a goal-line stand that included five stops inside their own 9-yard-line.

Diron Accoo, Tristal Friel and Jared Mullen began the third quarter with big tackles to force Irvington off the field, and Smyrna drove 65 yards 13 plays to go up 16-0 on Whaley’s 5-yard touchdown run and ensuing two-point conversion.

The Eagles forced another quick three and out with the gang tackling of Hunter Moyer, Demetrius Buckner, Darryl Williams and Accoo forcing a quick punt. Smyrna then scored on Jackson’s long touchdown catch and run to seemingly take control.

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