Woodbridge nips Caravel 21-20, returns to D-II final

Tyrez Cannon of Woodbridge signals a TD after he scored in the first quarter. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

GREENWOOD — Jayquon Massey snagged the ball out of the air and looked upfield.

The Woodbridge High seniors was staring directly at two offensive lineman bearing down on him from about 20 yards away.

That’s when the reinforcements arrive.

“I saw some big linemen but then I saw a couple of blue jerseys,” Massey said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, they got my back.’ I made one move and raced them to the end zone.”

Massey’s interception return for a touchdown and a few more clutch defensive stops helped Woodbridge High return to the state title game. The top-seeded Blue Raiders edged No. 6 seed Caravel Academy 21-20 on Friday night in the semifinals of the Division II football tournament.

Woodbridge defenders Or’mon Sanders (left) and teammate Michael Plummer stop Ethan Potter of Caravel for no gain.

Woodbridge, the defending Division II state champion, will face four-seed Howard in the championship game next Saturday at 6 p.m. at Delaware Stadium. Not only will the Blue Raiders be searching for a repeat, they’re looking to win their third title in four seasons.

It didn’t look great at times Friday for Woodbridge.

The Blue Raiders trailed at halftime 14-7 but rallied for a pair of touchdowns in less than a minute to start the fourth quarter. Then they had to rely on their defense to seal it.

Caravel scored a touchdown on Jermaine Earl’s 27-yard catch with 5:57 remaining. But the Buccaneers elected to go for two to take the lead.

Woodbridge’s defensive line broke through the line of scrimmage on the two-point conversion attempt to gang tackle Caravel star Ethan Potter to keep the lead at 21-20.

Kshawn Cox of the Blue Raiders breaks up a long pass intended for Caravel’s Jermaine Earl.

Caravel had one last chance, receiving the ball after a punt at its 20 with 50 seconds remaining. Woodbridge’s Michael Plummer picked off a pass, the third interception for the Woodbridge defense, to clinch the berth in the championship game.

“We talked at halftime, it hasn’t been so much the Xs and Os, it’s more about playing selfless football as opposed to selfish football,” said Woodbridge coach Jed Bell. “For us, the message is pretty simple. We’ve been through a lot this year. But just because we feel like we deserve it, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. … Guys made plays when they had to and we got it done. At this point in the year, that’s all that matters.”

Woodbridge tied it 14-14 with 10:38 left in the fourth quarter when quarterback Dalton Perdue rolled out on a bootleg. Perdue raced 20 yards down to the Caravel five-yard line where he was wrapped up by a defender.

Instead of going down, Perdue quickly lateraled to Jordan Evans, who ran the extra five yards for the touchdown.

A few plays later, Massey caught a wayward pass from his defensive back position. Once he had the blockers in front of him, he made one juke and found the seam to sprint 59 yards for the score and the lead.

Woodbridge fullback Tyrez Cannon takes a handoff for a gain in the first quarter against Caravel.

“I felt it coming,” Massey said. “I felt like we were going to come back and do it on defense.”

Tyrez Cannon added the other touchdown for the Blue Raiders on a two-yard rush on Woodbridge’s second drive of the first quarter.

Evans, Plummer and Massey each recorded an intercpetion for the Woodbridge defend.

“It’s surreal that these guys can rally behind each other and find a way to get it done,” Bell said. “It doesn’t matter who it is. I was tell them, from No. 2 to No. 88, it doesn’t make a difference, your role on the team is important and you got to make plays when you’re called upon.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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