Woodbridge QB Haynes seeking to end career with another title

BRIDGEVILLE – It’s only right that Troy Haynes plays the final game of his high school career against Wilmington Friends in a state title game.

After all, it was against the Quakers that the Woodbridge High senior starting quarterback saw his first bit of high school football action as a freshman.

“It’s kind of weird that it ended up happening like that, but I wouldn’t want it any other way,” said Haynes. “It’s always a competitive matchup between us, so it’s exciting.”

Haynes went 4-of-6 for 62 yards and a touchdown in a 28-23 loss in the Blue Raiders’ third game of the 2015 season.

He hasn’t missed a start since then.

Over the last four seasons, Haynes has accumulated a record of 37-8, including the state tournament. He’s racked up 3,353 passing yards, 65 total touchdowns (51 passing, 14 rushing) and thrown just 16 interceptions in those 45 games.

As a sophomore in 2016, Haynes led the Blue Raiders to a perfect 13-0 season, capping it with a 14-9 title victory over the Quakers.

“I wouldn’t want to be with any other school in the state of Delaware,” Haynes said. “Luckily, we’ve been able to make the playoffs the last four years and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teammates and without the help of the coaching staff.”

When he lines up under center against Wilmington Friends in the Division II state title game Saturday, Dec. 1 at University of Delaware, it will mark the sixth time in his career he’s faced the Quakers.

“Wilmington Friends is a very disciplined team – they don’t make many mistakes – so limiting mistakes will definitely increase our chance of winning the game. We have to make sure we execute and stay disciplined,” Haynes explained.

“The last four years with him has been great because he knows everything about our offense – not that it’s complicated or anything, but he kind of knows what I’m thinking. That makes it easier,” said Woodbridge coach Ed Manlove.

“Sometimes when he comes over to get the play, and I’m fumbling it out of my mouth, he knows exactly what I’m talking about, so he just goes back and does it. He has a calming effect and just goes out and does his job. It’s been a blessing for this program.”

Following the team’s 2016 title win, Woodbridge posted an 8-2 record but was bounced out of the first round of the playoffs with a 24-23 loss to Milford High.

“Both of our losses against Milford and our loss against Delmar in Week 10, which was for the Henlopen South, we used as fuel over the summer and throughout this season,” Haynes said.

Entering 2018, Woodbridge experienced some early-season woes.

Consecutive losses to Dover High and Wilmington Friends dropped the Blue Raiders to 1-2 through the first three weeks.

A seven-game win streak to end the regular season, including a Henlopen South-clinching 25-0 shutout of Delmar in Week 10, landed the Blue Raiders the No. 4 seed in the Division II state tournament bracket.

From there, Woodbridge knocked off No. 5 Howard, 28-0, in the quarterfinals and No. 6 Delmar, 41-14, in the semifinals to set up the Wilmington Friends rematch.

“The thing with Friends, and us, when we play each other is it’s the great unknown,” Manlove said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen and how everything is going to breakdown.

“There’s a lot of familiarity there, yes, but at the same time it’s going to be tight and we know that. We’re just going to go out there and give everything we’ve got and somebody’s going to come out on top. Hopefully it’s us.”

“We’re just coming out here and working hard, going 100% every day,” said Haynes. “We’re taking mental reps as well as physical reps throughout every practice leading up to the championship this Saturday.”

Win or lose, the title game will mark the end of the Manlove-Haynes era.

Haynes will finish out his high school career, while Manlove is set to retire from coaching after 31 years on the sideline.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said Haynes. “I think it will all hit me once I get on the field at UD and after the final buzzer rings.”

Staff writer Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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