Vikings seek to build upon Maull’s first season as coach

Senior Joseph Kirby, left, and junior Jaden Davis represented Cape Henlopen at last week’s high school football media day in Dover. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

LEWES — This offseason has made all the difference for Cape Henlopen High.

Following last season’s one-win season, rising senior Joseph Kirby and incoming junior Jaden Davis felt a difference between last offseason and this offseason as the Vikings enter their second season under football coach J.D. Maull.

Maull, a 1997 Cape graduate, took over as head coach of the Vikings prior to last season.

The former Cape standout, who quarterbacked the Vikings from 1994-96, had spent the previous 12 seasons as coach at St. Georges Tech High.

The Vikings went just 1-9 in his first year at the helm of his alma mater.

Kirby and Davis, two of Cape’s captains from a season ago, knew that with a brand new coaching staff and offensive scheme, they would need a little bit of patience.

The team’s lone victory was a 28-20 triumph over Henlopen Conference Northern Division foe Polytech High on Oct. 5.

“We just have to trust the process,” said Kirby at last Thursday’s high school football media day in Dover. “Coming in, new offense, new coaching staff, everything was brand-new, so we just had to adjust. But I feel like this year it’s going to be a lot better.”

“We put the work in all off-season,” added Davis. “We don’t want to go 1-9 again, and we’re just more of a team this year, too. So, we’re just trusting the process and buying into the program.”

Cape will play a pair of scrimmages against Lake Forest High and Indian River High, as well as a scrimmage play day with Appoquinimink High and Howard High School of Technology, over the next few weeks.

The Vikings will then open the regular season campaign with a nonconference showdown at home against St. Georges Tech. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

Cape’s first Henlopen North showdown is with Milford High, on the road, Sept. 20 with kickoff set for 7 p.m.

“We have to just play physical and fast this year,” said Kirby. “I feel like guys were just worried about making mistakes. It’s cool to make mistakes — football is a long game — so you can make mistakes, just make them fast and learn how to forget and move on to the next play. That’s what we have to work on.”

While Kirby and Davis worked out together during the offseason, the Vikings have also held team workouts over the summer and have used that time to not only get stronger but form a team bond heading into this past Monday’s preseason practices.

“We work out together a lot because we have our own trainer in Rehoboth, but as a group we have team workouts, too,” said Kirby. “So, we have been having a lot of guys show up for workouts, both in the morning and afternoon. We’ve been working hard this offseason.”

Davis, listed as a running back, says he put on pounds and improved speed over the offseason.

“I gained 25 pounds from last year,” he said. “We got faster. Our [offensive] line, they’re coming together. They worked hard in the offseason, getting bigger and better.”

“It’s a new team this year,” added Kirby.

As far as team goals go, the Vikings are looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2012 season. Though Cape put up winning records from 2013-16, an 8-2 record in ’12 marks the last Viking playoff appearance.

“Team goal this year, we just have to reach the playoffs,” said Kirby. “Winning season, then reach the playoffs. Cape hasn’t been there for a long time, and we’re trying to change that.”

Delaware 105-9 FM will broadcast all of the Cape Henlopen Vikings football games this season.

Glenn Frazer (40th year) will handle the play-by-play with Dan Messina (2nd season) on color.

In previous years, Delaware 105-9 FM broadcast a “Game-of-the-Week” involving teams in the Henlopen Conference.

This marks the 1st year the station will feature all games of one team.

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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