A thrice-in-a-lifetime player in pretty good company

Beacon's Alia Marshall, nimble and quick, scores a goal against Smyrna. BY DAVE FREDERICK
October 19, 2012

Once in a lifetime - My son Dave is the sports car version of me; color him Jaguar green, and color me Power Stroke jade. Dave is principal at Beacon, where he bounces around like a lottery ball between teachers and students. We met on the sidelines to watch some Beacon hockey versus Smyrna Oct. 15.  I was snagging photos and getting grandparent points watching seventh-grader Katie play the midfield. They say kids always know you are there, but Katie didn’t, so at the Sussex Tech soccer game the next night, I had to remind her to enter my points in her grandparent Race to the Top composition book. Young Dave’s talent is he is a champion of all his Beacon kids, not just his own. He started going off about willow-wispy Alia Marshall, who “floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee” (Muhammad Ali, 1967) in the attack zone. “Look at that girl; she is amazing; just watch her; oh my God, did you see that? She’s a once-in-a-lifetime player, a Sara Young or Carrie Lingo.” I mentioned that is a thrice-in-a-lifetime player, but the girl can play, and so could many others, and it takes talent to enjoy them all the same.

Who’s My Line? Football fans in the stands think they know more than they do and may try to impress hot dog gobblers nearby with statements like, “Cape mixes and matches odd and even fronts in the same game." I was taught you don’t mix them in the same season. You saw what the Eagles did when the Wide 9 experiment failed - they fired the loyal Hispanic guy Juan Castillo, which was just plain rude. And so I asked Cape’s defensive coordinator John “Big Pappy” Parker how you transition from stopping a spread offensive passing attack like Dover to a classic Wing-T, run-oriented offense like Sussex Central with a four-man defensive front of undersized athletes with a hand on the ground. “The bottom line on defense is you're always looking to disrupt what they do. We have to take advantage of speed guys. We have Jeremiah Cohen and Andrew Grau on the edges that can disrupt some blocking assignments, and Andre Flowers inside is quick off the ball and Tommy Ott is just Tommy Ott - good luck moving him out of there." An eruption of disruption sounds like a good slogan to me. Cohen said, “I have to shut down the off tackle and keep turning the sweep back inside.” Flowers, who lines up on a guard, smiled and said, “I just use my speed.” Tommy Ott said, "I just blow up what’s in front of me and find the football.” I asked two-way player Grau, who caught two touchdown passes against Dover, what side of the ball he liked best. “I just always go to the tight end side.” Teammate Ott laughed, “He meant offense or defense.” Grau responded, “Well, that was a trick question.” There will be a few tricks and lots of misdirection run at the Cape defense Friday and they will have to blow up and disrupt some plays if the Vikings hope to end Sussex Central's 14-year win streak in this rivalry.

Snippets - It is all the way ridiculous to have a Legends Stadium where only men are honored while the women of Cape play on turf field two. You think all these smart and gifted athletic women that Cape has turned out the last 43 years haven’t noticed? An anonymous alumna channeling me like a happy medium suggested naming the new stadium: “Ivins Stadium of Champions celebrating Delaware state champion teams of turf and the coaches who coached them. The Ivins name represents the pioneer 'mother' of Cape girls' sports.” The Cape Athletic Committee will take this up at the next scheduled meeting, which hasn’t been scheduled yet.

Wesley field hockey will be at Mary Washington Saturday, Oct. 20, for the Eagles' homecoming. It will be another Cape reunion as Devon Price plays for Wesley and Jenna Steele for Mary Washington. Wesley nearly pulled off a stunner Oct. 17, losing to Salisbury 2-1 in overtime.

A great soccer game at Cape Oct. 16 between the Vikings and Ravens of Sussex Tech ended in a 1-1 tie after double overtime. Coaches Gary Montalto and Carlos Villa are just the best in my book. Griffin Kammerer made a crazy good save in the second overtime to preserve the tie. I preserved none of mine; I threw them all out.

Go on now, git!