Downstate football doubles down at Delaware

Sussex Central, Woodbridge, Cape, Delmar all state champions
December 4, 2018

Double down at Delaware - My journalist colleagues from the News Journal, Brad Myers and Kevin Tresolini, did a taped show prior to the Dec. 1 state championship football games at Delaware saying, “It was the best sports day of the year.” Mr. Field Hockey, one of my many aliases, amended that to “one of the best.” On Nov. 16, a state championship doubleheader of field hockey at Rullo Stadium on the University of Delaware campus saw Delmar capture the DivisionI II state championship crown with a 5-0 win over Caravel followed by Cape beating Padua for the Division I crown, also by a 5-0 score. On Dec. 1, at the Tub, Sussex Central beat Salesianum 33-7 for the Division I crown, and later in the day Woodbridge defeated Wilmington Friends 33-9 for the Division II title. Publics versus privates, and none of the four outcomes were close.

Big white W - I had never been to Sussex County, but in June of 1975 I was on the south campus of West Chester State watching the Philadelphia Area Meet of Champions. An Afro-American sprinter from Delaware with a big white capital W on the chest of his dark, loosely fitting blue jersey topped with an afro on his head blew away a star-studded field to win the 100 meters. His name was Jim Wheel, a local legend at Woodbridge, and perhaps the greatest sprinter they have ever produced. Woodbridge won the Division II state championship for track and field in 1979, 1981 and 1982 under coach Bill Degnan, and finished second in 1972, 1975, 1976 and 1980. The Bridge has always been laden with sports talent, and over the last few years, the boys went Al Green – “Let’s Stay Together” – and won a couple Division II football championships.

Pigtails and buzzsaws - Cape wrestling took 13 grapplers to the Southern Slam last weekend in South Carolina. My grandson Mikey, a freshman, is Cape’s starting 126-pounder in only his second year of trying to execute a cement mixer on someone else’s child. “Mikey’s bracket is pigtail” I read by text from Scott Kammerer who was “in the pancake house” watching his freshman son Carson, who wrestles 120. Pigtail means you have to win a match just to get into the 32-person bracket. But some lightweight came up fat at weigh-in, so Mikey got to grapple the No. 2 seed and was leading by a point halfway through the final period but turned the wrong way and got stuck. Later during wrestlebacks, I got separate texts from Chris Mattioni and Scott K stating, “Mikey ran into a legman and got buzzsawed.” I have never been buzzsawed by a legman, but if that were in progress, I’d go full-boat Franciscan and knuckle my attacker on top of his skull. A note from coach Mattioni: “Congratulations to the Cape wrestling team for their 10th-place finish at the Southern Slam at Eastside HS in Taylors, S.C. All 13 wrestlers won at least one match in the 48-team event. The team was led by Anthony Caruso and Chris Handlin, who finished third; Billy Ott finished sixth; and Eduardo Saez eighth.” Cape hosts Lake Forest Wednesday, Dec. 5, with the varsity scheduled for 6 p.m. Handlin won his 100th career match with his third-place victory.

Jump trap game - The Cape basketball girls delighted the crowd Nov. 30 with an unselfish brand of basketball that saw all five starters score in double figures en route to a 76-56 home win over Smyrna. But on Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 5 p.m, the girls go to the Happy House on Patriots Way, to battle Ron Dukes and his Knights, who won their opener 48-28 over Caesar Rodney. The Riders are coached by Tameka Williams, wife of boys’ coach Freeman Williams. Longtime coach of the CR girls, Bill Victory, has retired. There are 13 names listed on the CR varsity roster, but four of those are managers. The Knights have no posted roster because that’s just what you’d be expecting them to do.

Snippets - “They are better than I expected” is the positive spin on “they’re not as bad as I anticipated.” Cape boys’ basketball won at Smyrna on Nov. 30 53-51, and to quote the last words of the switchman standing on the wrong track, “I didn’t see that one coming.” The Sussex Tech boys lost at Dover 74-58. Dover is stacked with a half dozen players over 6-foot-3, including 6-foot-7 Jyheim Spencer. Jody Boyer, a recent Cape grad, was a freshman defender on the Shippensburg field hockey team that won the NCAA Division II title over East Stroudsburg with a 1-0 overtime victory. I remember when Jody was a Cape freshman and hit my granddaughter Katie in the head with an errant shot during warmups sending her into concussion protocol. And so I get a piece of whatever is in that box they handed out to each winner. Go on now, git!