The Smyrna Eagles out scored St. George’s 48-35 in a “wild” football game Friday night at Charles V. Williams Stadium. The two teams combined for five touchdowns, four turnovers, and 33 points all in the opening quarter.
Smyrna honored 24 players on Senior Night, many of whom figured prominently in the outcome. Smyrna scored the first touchdown just :17 into the game as Kahmaj Kearney took a “pitch” from Jacob Tiberi and passed to senior Nolan Oakley, who was open for a 66 yard score. It was Oakley’s first touchdown reception of the season and his longest play of the year. Another senior, Brandon West ran in for the two-point conversion to make the score 8-0.
There is no surprise that the visiting Hawks like to run the ball with feature back Cameron Montgomery. That is exactly what they did on the first six plays from scrimmage, moving from their own 34 to the Eagles 31 yard line. Then on the next play, quarterback Francis McCarthy used a play action fake to pass near the end zone, but Eagle cornerback Amir Thomas intercepted at the four.
The Hawks defense responded two plays later when Drew Marks passed to Andre Ashley at the 6, who was hit by Jah’siah Fyffe, forcing a fumble that was recovered for a touchdown by Elijah Burke. The extra point attempt was blocked leaving Smyrna up by a score of 8-6.
Head coach John Wilson and his staff called for an early onside kick that almost worked, but the ball was touched by the Hawks before going ten yards. That gave Smyrna the ball at the 48 yard line. Following a 20 yard run by Chrystian Carroll, Tiberi made a perfect pass to fellow senior Ashley in stride in the corner of the end zone to make the score 14-6.
The Eagles took a two possession lead just :80 later when Tim Yancey ran in from four yards out. The touchdown was set up by senior Triston Williams’ fumble recovery at the St. George’s twenty one. The Hawks took to their strength on the final drive of the quarter, using nearly five minutes in 12 plays, culminating with a Montgomery one yard score with :17 left. The scoring drive was aided by three Smyrna major penalties, two of which occurred inside their own twenty. The “crazy” first quarter ended with Smyrna up by a score of 20-13. There was a theme in that opening quarter that continued throughout the night, turnovers by the visiting Hawks, and penalties committed by the Eagles.
Smyrna scored twice in the second quarter on a short run by Kearney out of the “earthquake” formation, and a 53-yard pass from Drew Marks to senior Dior Mackey, his 4th touchdown of the year. One more interesting fact in the first half was the number 17. The Eagles scored just :17 into the game, the Hawks answered on a touchdown with :17 left in the opening quarter, and the Marks pass to Mackey came with :17 left in the half!
Smyrna led 30-14 at the half, and the only score in the third quarter was Montgomery’s second TD of the game on a two yard run on a 4th and goal play. The two offenses made up for the lack of scoring in the third quarter by combining for 29 points in the final stanza. Smyrna’s Yancey weaved his way through the Hawks’ defense for a 16 yard touchdown (his second of the game), as senior Jesse Dixon ran in the conversion, plus senior Tiberi connected with Phoenix Henriquez on a 58 yard pass to complete the Eagles point total for the night. Good downfield blocks by fellow receivers, Ashley and Oakley aided Henriquez on his sprint to the end zone.
The Hawks scored twice in the final quarter on a 4th and goal pass from Tim Wichard to Jason Askins-Brooks and an 85 yard kickoff return by Askins-Brooks to make the final 48-35.
Montgomery finished the game with 144 yards rushing on 37 carries and 2 touchdowns to lead St. George’s. The Hawks committed five turnovers in the loss, and will host Cape Henlopen next week on Senior Recognition day.
Smyrna gained over 300 yards passing as Marks (150), Tiberi (88) and Kearney (66) all performed well. Seniors Caleb Blane and Corey Williams both had interceptions. Those two along with seniors Triston Williams and Cole Moyer were major contributors in the win. The Eagles travel to “The Castle” next Friday to face Sussex Central. The Golden Knights secured the district title and accompanying tournament berth with a win at Caesar Rodney.
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