Wilson, Knight lift Eagles by Cape 54-21

William Knight is congratulated by teammates Hunter Moyer (28) and Diron Accoo after he scored a touchdown against Cape in the 2nd quarter. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

SMYRNA — Isaiah Wilson’s night started as badly as it possibly could.

But it was mostly smooth sailing from there.

Wilson threw an interception on his first pass but rebounded to throw for 211 yards and ran for a touchdown in a 54-21 Smyrna High victory over Cape Henlopen Friday night in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division contest.

The game also featured running back Will Knight’s return to the Smyrna lineup after sitting out last week’s game with an injury. Knight ran for 271 yards and four touchdowns. He also eclipsed the 5,000-yard mark in his career.

Smyrna quarterback Isaiah Wilson checks downfield for an open receiver in the first half of game against Cape Henlopen.

Wilson scored twice, on a 5-yard rush and a 53-yard pass to Stephen Whaley. His first pass resulted in a pick-six by Cape’s Kenneth Witherspoon then Wilson and the Eagles responded with 48 unanswered points before halftime.

Smyrna had dropped its first two games of the year (Middletown and Franklin, Md.) but the two-time defending Division I state champions have won their last two to improve to 2-2.

“I think some of the struggles early in the season had less to do with us and more with the competition that we’ve been facing,” said Smyrna coach Mike Judy. “With having ran through that gauntlet, things kind of go back to normal.”

After Witherspoon’s touchdown of the interception, Wilson completed his next five passes on the following two drives. The first ended with a 5-yard run by Knight for a touchdown before Wilson scored on a 5-yard quarterback keeper on the next drive.

The second scoring drive was four plays and went 97 yards. Wilson first found Whaley for 20 yards before hitting Keshaun Tolbert for 31 and then lobbed a pass to Knight for 36.

“My coaches talk about it all the time at practice, what to do with the next play,” Wilson said of his response to the interception. “So as soon as I got back out there, I made the most of what I could “do.”

Smyrna receiver Keshaun Tolbert keeps his eyes on the ball by was unable to hold onto to this pass in the end zone late in the 2nd quarter.

“We got into a flow,” he added. “I can’t even explain it. I was feeling it and my players were making plays.”

Judy was impressed with how quickly Wilson moved on from the pick-six.

“That sort of thing can happen when you’re playing against big athletes that Cape has,” Judy said. “It’s kind of like a pitcher that gives up a home run. You got to just get on the mound and get after it. He did a good job of not letting that rattle him.”

Tolbert had the other touchdown on the night for Smyrna. Technically it was a 12-yard run after Wilson ran the ball then threw a backward pass as a lateral to Tolbert who ran it in.
Knight had touchdown runs of five, 15, 17 and 67 yards. He only missed one game with his injury.

“When you get the big dog back you let him eat,” Judy said.

Meanwhile the Smyrna defense did not let up a touchdown until the second-string was in during the fourth quarter. Ben Ashby scored a late rushing touchdown and also returned an interception 79 yards for a TD in the second half.

Smyrna did not concede a first down until Cape’s drive right before halftime. The Eagles had no problems breaking up Cape’s Wing-T plays in the backfield.

Kolbi Wright of Cape Henlopen is met at the line of scrimmage by Eagle defenders Hunter Moyer (28) and teammate Caden Naylor.

“We run a special defense for them,” said linebacker Diron Acco. “I feel like defensively we always want to set the tone.”

“Our strong suit is our defensive line and our backers,” Judy said. “They really rose to the occasion and handled their one-on-one battles.”

Wilson, in his first year at Smyrna since transferring from Glasgow, finished the night 9-of-13 on passing attempts.

“Starting off 0-2 is hard for a team who just were state champs,” Wilson said. “It took me a little bit of time just to get used to everything going on here, the crowd, the atmosphere, but I got it down now and we’re starting to get things rolling.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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