Newark – Cape Henlopen and Salesianum came into the DIAA Class AAA championship game statistically even. After the first half the two were tied 10-10.
Then Salesianum erupted for 21 unanswered points in the third quarter on their way to a 45-17 victory winning their first Class AAA state championship and their eighth overall title.
It was also the first title for first-year Salesianum head coach Gene Delle-Donne.
“I’m speechless, so happy for the community and the boys. They deserve it for all the hard work they have put in since January,” Delle-Donne said.
The game didn’t start out on a positive note for Salesianum. After forcing Cape Henlopen to punt on the opening possession Salesianum took over at the Cape 47 yard. On the first play B.J. Alleyne took a direct snap and rolled out to the right and was hit by Jukai Payne forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Vikings at the Salesianum 44 yard line.
Six plays later Jameson Tingle connected with Maurki James on a swing pattern for a four yard touchdown pass. Wilson Ingerski added the kick as Cape Henlopen took a 7-0 lead with 3:21 to play in the first quarter.
“Watching film on Cape’s season we saw that they like to come out fast and are well prepared and come out smoking and they did that tonight and we had to temper that. We were lucky enough to do that and get the win,” Delle-Donne said.
Salesianum forced another Cape Henlopen punt in the second quarter at midfield. Salesianum capped off the scoring drive with a nine yard touchdown pass from Brady McBride to Will Neumann. Collin Maradick added the kick as Salesianum tied the game at 7-7.
A second Salesianum fumble, this time a muffed punt, giving the Vikings the ball at the Salesianum 18 yard line. Ingerski hit a 38 yard field goal to put Cape Henlopen up 10-7 with 2:27 to play in the first half.
Salesianum took over at their own 25 yardline and drove to the Cape Henlopen seven yard line where Maradick kicked a 24 yard field goal to tie the game at 10-10 at halftime.
Salesianum opened up the second half on a third and 11 when McBride connected with Benjamin Anton in stride for a 73 yard touchdown pass. Maradick’s kick gave Salesianum their first lead of the game 17-10.
The third quarter surge continued when L.J. Smith intercepted a Tingle pass and returned it nine yards for a touchdown and then Alleyne added a 24 yard touchdown run as Salesianum extended their lead to 31-10 midway through the third quarter.
Alleyne added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. A two yard run and a 57 yard run sandwiching a three yard touchdown pass from Tingle to Lucas Stevenson for Cape Henlopen.
Alleyne led Salesianum with 197 yards rushing on 20 carries and three touchdowns.
“B.J. is an amazing kid, he’s been a well oiled machine, he has been the Secretariat that we rode all week,” Delle Donne said.
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