(Dover, DE) The Sussex Central Golden Knights put on a clinic with their “ball control” wing-T offense in a 13-12 win at Dover Friday night. The result puts Central alone at the top of district 2 in class 3A (3-0 / 6-2), while the Senators suffered their first loss of the year (2-1 / 7-1).
Sussex Central took the opening kickoff and marched methodically down field on a 10-play drive that culminated with a touchdown run of two yards by Juaquin Sturgis. Of the 10 plays only one was a pass, and that pass was a diving reception by Jace Peden at the Dover two, setting up the Sturgis score. Rodney Escobar-Gonzalez kicked the extra point to give the Golden Knights a 7-0 lead. Unbeknownst at the time, that kick would end up being the difference in the game.
Dover didn’t get on the scoreboard until late in the first half. Nahseem Cosme connected with Amir Byron for 14 yards and a 1st down, then John Parker ran for 39 yards on a “sweep” into Central territory. Five straight running plays put the Senators at the one yard line, where Parker finished the drive on a 1-yard touchdown run. The extra point attempt was blocked leaving the score at 7-6 with just :45 left in the half. However, on the second play from scrimmage, Rasheed Branch forced a fumble and Ryan Perkins recovered inside the 30 yard line. Dover was unable to capitalize and the half ended with the Golden Knights leading 7-6.
Dover opened the second half with a drive to the Central 19 on a 26-yard pass from Cosme to Jaheim Cole plus a face mask penalty as the Senators looked to take the lead. On the very next play, Dover fumbled a lateral with Gabe Cannon recovering for the ‘Knights at the 19. Sussex Central took advantage of the turnover as Will Harmon scored from 17 yards out. Escobar-Gonzalez’s extra point attempt hit the upright, leaving Central up by seven points at 13-6 with 4:00 left in the third quarter.
Dover answered the Central score with a Parker run of 39 yards on a “sweep”, aided by an excellent downfield block from junior lineman Michael Stevenson. The all important two-point conversion run was stopped short as Cosme was tackled by Justin Negron. With :43 to go in the third quarter, Dover still trailed 13-12.
Just as they did in the opening quarter, Sussex Central dominated the final quarter with the “ball control” wing-T rushing attack. The Knights held the ball for nearly all but one minute and ran out the clock for the win.
After the game head coach John Wells told us, “That’s as healthy as we’ve been all season.” Central running back Malik Bell paced his team with 92 yards on 21 carries, most coming right up the middle. Bell missed 4 games this year due to a shoulder injury. Wells said, “Before the game Malik came up to me and said I’m ready to run hard tonight coach…I’m ready.”
Bell, along with Sturgis, Harmon and Kevon Moore-Briddell helped the Golden Knights rush for 205 yards and control the clock. Wells’ team can clinch the district title with a win next week at Caesar Rodney.
Dover was led by John Parker’s 156 rushing yards on 18 carries. He scored all 12 of the Senators points and has 7 touchdowns in the last three games.
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