Salesianum earns trip to state championship

Jason WinchellHeadlines, Sports

Salesianun Sals quarterback Brady McBride runs with the ball, photo courtesy of Donnell Henriquez

WILMINGTON — Salesianum, the top seed in the DIAA Class 3A football tournament, overcame a stiff challenge from No. 5 Middletown, earning a 24-14 win on Nov. 24 at Abessinio Stadium. It will be the Sals’ first trip to a state championship game since 2018.

The Sals (11-1) advanced to the Class 3A championship game against No. 6 Cape Henlopen, who stunned the second seed, Sussex Central, 46-14, in the other semifinal. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Dec. 1 at Delaware Stadium.

After a quarterfinal round where the Sals escaped Smyrna despite giving up 40 points, coach Paul Worrilow’s defense was on point most of the night against the Cavaliers. R.J. Johnson, Andrew Semmel and Ahmaad Foster seemed to be in Middletown quarterback Austin Troyer’s face all night, hampering the high-powered Cavs offense.

Middletown did take a 7-0 lead on a nice fade pass from Troyer to Aviyon Matthews late in the first quarter, but a long kickoff return by the Sals’ Jasir Gaymon got his team started at the Cavs’ 13. That drive ended with a Colin Maradick field goal.

The Salesianum defense shut out the Cavaliers until the fourth quarter, with standout running back B.J. Alleyne came through on defense to help keep it that way. The Sals were driving early in the second quarter when Middletown’s Jacobi Rodgers scooped up a fumble and took off down the left sideline. He appeared to be on his way to a 75-yard touchdown, but Alleyne closed the gap and tackled Rodgers at the Sals’ 12. Middletown went in the wrong direction, eventually giving up the ball on downs and coming away with no points.

The Sals took the lead for good late in the first half. Gaymon and standout running back B.J. Alleyne covered all of the 53 yards on the drive, with Alleyne capping it with a 17-yard score.

They added to the lead late in the third quarter, and Alleyne again played a role. He took a pitch from quarterback Ryan Stoehr and hit a wide-open Billy Neumann behind the defense for a 52-yard score. The Cavaliers cut the Salesianum lead to 17-14 on a Troyer keeper with 8:41 to go, but the Sals again used a long kickoff return to set up a score, this one a 2-yard run by Alleyne.

Middletown had two more possessions, but both ended with an interception. The first was by Jake Ziegler in the end zone that ended a long Cavs drive, and the last came from John Casale to clinch it.

Alleyne finished with 31 carries for 123 yards and the two rushing touchdowns. Tickets for the Sal’s game against Cape Henlopen will be sold through the University of Delaware ticket portal, and the NFHS Network will have the live stream produced by Delaware Live Sports.

Middletown finished the season 8-4.

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