Sussex Central beat Salesianum 33-7 on Dec. 1 to win the DIAA Division I football championship at the University of Delaware in Newark. The title is the first for Golden Knights’ John Wells in his 23rd year as the head coach. His squads had previously lost in the finals in 2000, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
It’s the first Division I state championship for a Sussex County team since Seaford in 1981.
Central started the scoring on a 59-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Isaac Barnes to his brother Isaiah. Isaiah caught five passes for 112 yards in the game. Issac went 5-for-6 for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
The Knights went into the halftime break up seven points, but the feel on the Central sideline and in the stands was that the Northern Division team was going to add more to the scoreboard soon.
They did just that when Shihiem Williams received the kickoff and ran 99 yards for the score to start the total domination by the Henlopen Conference champs. Central scored 20 points in the third quarter.
The Central defense caused a fumble by the Sallies punter, and it only took three plays to score, as junior running back Kasim Lewis blasted three yards into the end zone with 8:53 left in the third quarter.
Sallies finally got on the scoreboard with a three-yard touchdown plunge by halfback Andrew Watkins at 6:43 mark.
The Knights added a score on the first play of the fourth quarter, when Barnes hit Javon Toppin with a 15-yard touchdown.
TyJhir Sheppard-Parker finished off the scoring for the Golden Knights on a 56-yard run.
The powerful offense was complemented by a hard-nosed, smash-mouth defense.
Wells said that his defense proved they’re the best in the state, holding Salesianum to just 192 total yards and nine first downs.
The Golden Knights finished the game with 331 yards of total offense.