Vikings advance to first state championship since 2010

Jason Winchell Headlines, Sports

a group of people playing football on a field

Photo couretsy of Eric O’Neill St Elizabeth’s football

WILMINGTON — Quasim Benson, bouncing back after injuring an ankle late in the regular season, scored four touchdowns as St. Elizabeth defeated Tatnall, 33-0, to advance to the DIAA 1A football state championship. The Vikings will be seeking their first title since 2010.

Benson scored on runs of 8, 4, 12 and 8 yards for the Vikings, who were in control throughout this contest at Abessinio Stadium. He was the primary ball carrier for coach Mike Lemon, who was rewarded for his confidence in the junior.

Benson carried for 13 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Chris Caracter had the big run on the opening drive, covering 33 yards to put St. E in Hornets territory, but Benson capped the 71-yard march with 7:19 left in the first.

Later in the first, St. Elizabeth took possession and began a 67-yard drive that featured more of Benson, who was wearing No. 1 instead of his familiar No. 3. Tatnall helped the Vikings out with an offsides penalty on fourth down that kept the drive alive, and Benson ran on three of the four plays after the infraction. The extra point was no good; it was the first of three straight touchdowns after which St. Elizabeth failed to add any points.

The Vikings kicked off to open the second half, but the Hornets helped them out by coughing up the return. That gave the Vikings a short field, and the Hornets once again bailed their opponent out with a pass interference on third down. After that, quarterback Brett Smick found Mikey Downes open for a 16-yard score to make it 19-0.

The Hornets moved the ball on occasion on Saturday, including in the possession after Downes’ touchdown. Tatnall quarterback Charlie Simpers hit Rahshan LaMons for a 47-yard gain, giving the Hornets first and goal. They would, however, turn the ball over on downs.

The Vikings will meet top-seeded Laurel on Dec. 11 at Delaware Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m. St. Elizabeth improved to 11-1. Tatnall finished 7-5.

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