Undefeated Smyrna wins 54-22 over Sussex Tech

GEORGETOWN — As usual, the Smyrna High offense scored and scored and scored.

But this was still a tied game midway through the second quarter.

Then the Smyrna defense clamped down on Sussex Tech, forced some turnovers and the Eagles pulled away for yet another win.

Smyrna scored 40 unanswered points to down the Ravens 54-22 in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division contest on Friday night. The Eagles remained unbeaten on the season to improve to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the Henlopen North.

The Smyrna defense forced three key turnovers during the 40-point stretch. Senior cornerback Jake Soroko had an interception, junior linebacker Diron Acco forced a fumble that was recovered by junior Jared Mullen and senior linebacker Daniel Quiros blocked a punt.

“Anytime and any way we can end a drive it’s a good thing to give the ball back to the offense,” Soroko said. “We turned it up at the end. We had some miscommunication in the first half but going into halftime we fixed all that.”

The 54 points was actually the lowest output of the year for the high-scoring Eagles. Still, they put up their usual gaudy numbers.

Senior quarterback Nolan Henderson passed for 297 yards on 13-of-17 attempts in the first half alone. For the game, Henderson finished with five passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown and 317 passing yards.

“The receivers were doing a great job getting open,” Henderson said. “They were wide-open downfield and all I had to do was get it to them. Really it’s all on them.”

Henderson scored the go-ahead touchdown with 6:20 left in the second quarter when the game was tied 14-14. He kept the ball on a read-option and raced 12 yards untouched into the end zone.

The Eagles defense then forced a punt which was booted deep into Smyrna territory at the 18-yard line. The Eagles needed just one play to score again.

Henderson spun away from an onrushing defensive lineman, rolled out to his left and heaved the ball deep down the sideline, looking like he was throwing toward wideout Stephen Whaley. But it was really intended for Will Knight who was cutting across the field.

Knight ran in front of Whaley and the defender, to make a lunging catch and managed to keep his stride to blow by the rest of the defense for an 82-yard touchdown.

“I thought I threw it too far but he just hit another gear and caught it,” Henderson said. “Will is an amazing athlete.”

Knight added a 21-yard rushing touchdown for the Eagles in the second half.

Five different Smyrna players scored on the night. Leddie Brown had the first touchdown, a 56-yard reception from Henderson less than a minute into the contest. That was as much as Brown would contribute though, he had to leave the contest with an ankle injury and did not return.

With Brown out, sophomore wide receiver Emon Roberts caught a pair of touchdowns and junior wide receiver Marcus Vass had one.

“Leddie got dinged up a little bit so we shut him down which I think was the right thing to do,” said Smryna coach Mike Judy. “He’s a dynamic player, but the other guys are dynamic players as well. When one guy goes down, the other guys have to pick up the slack.”

Junior quarterback Tyzhir Morris led Sussex Tech (1-2 North, 3-3 overall) with a rushing touchdown and two passing touchdowns. The Ravens caught Smyrna with two long pass plays for scores including one for 65 yards over the top of the Smyrna secondary.

“I’m not as much worried about that as I think that Sussex Tech is a good team and they brought their A-game,” Judy said. “They did a really good job, but I think we did a good job of overcoming them as the game went on. That’s something we really do well. I’m really proud that we’re able to face some adversity and overcome it.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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