By Kevin Eickman
It was a game that features just about what any fan would want in a football game; there where big hits, big plays and a victory for Southern Delaware. The 58th edition of the DFRC Blue-Gold football game was a great event to watch for the announced crowd of over 8,000 people at Tubby Raymond field in Newark.
The game didn’t start well for the Gold team, composed primarily of players from southern Delaware, as a poor snap allowed the Blue squad to open up the scoring with a safety, followed by a field goal from Adam Szcerba of Saint Elizibeth’s to give them a 5-0 lead with 7:46 left to play in the first quarter.
The Gold seemed to be struggling to find their footing on offense, when Milford’s Nick Jefferson got his number called on a pass play. Breaking open on the left side, Jefferson made the reception and broke two tackles on his way to a 34 yard reception. While the Gold squad would turn the ball over, it was a sign of the big play potential that the Gold squad possessed.
After once again finding themselves with their backs against the wall at their own 10 yard line, the Gold squad produced a methodical drive. Mixing both the pass and run effectively, Jefferson also had a key play in the drive as well, taking an inside hand off and converting a key third down. With the Gold team on the doorstep, Malacchi Esdale hauled in a five yard pass for a touchdown and a two point conversion by Cape Henlopen grad, Diaz Nardo. The Gold team took an 8-5 lead into the locker room at the half.
At the beginning of the second half Jesse June of Salesianum intercepted a Gold pass, and returned it to the house to give Blue a 12-8 lead early in the third quarter. The Gold team spent the next 11 minutes of the third quarter, battling poor field position, as well as a tough Blue defense. Finally the Blue made the mistake that the Gold was looking for, a snap over the quarterbacks head let Gold set up shop at the Blue 32 yard line.
Gold wasted little time as Ian Gory of Dover, connected with a wide open James Booth of Sussex Central, on a 32 yard touchdown strike. The 2 point conversion by Nardo staked the Gold to a 16-12 advantage at the start of the 4th quarter. Diaz Nardo continued making big plays, as he intercepted a Blue pass, returning it to the 2 yard line of the Blue and setting up a Gold touchdown. With a failed conversion, Gold attempted to chew some clock, but Blue worked their way back into the game on an 8 yard run by Andrea Patton of Saint Elizabeth’s with 7:48 left in the game.
With the clock winding down, Gold worked the ball down the field and managed to get key first downs. Needing just one more first down to ice the game, the Gold called a pass play on third and eight. On the end of the 21 yard reception was Jefferson, his last play as a high school player. The catch sealed the game for the Gold, and put a fitting end to a career.
Catching up with Jefferson after the he was thrilled with how the game came out. “It was a real battle tonight, I’m just thrilled that we were able to get the win,” stated Jefferson. “It was a real battle out there, with some fantastic players on the field.”
Jefferson, who played quarterback at Milford, was asked about playing wide receiver for the first time. “I have been working at it all summer and it all seemed to come together for me this week, I was very comfortable out there tonight.” he stated. Jefferson will be heading up to West Chester in the fall and will try for a spot at slot receiver.