Yellowjackets fall to DMA in cross-divisional battle
Playing a Division 2 opponent didn’t make it any easier for Newark as the Yellowjackets fell to Delaware Military Academy 28-0 last Friday night.
“I thought we played well to start the game,” head coach Barry Zehnder said. “We were essentially playing for pride, while they were playing for the playoffs. I thought we matched their intensity to start the game. I felt we did a good job tackling one of the more elusive backs in the state [senior Corahn Alleyne]. As the game went on, we just couldn’t put things together.”
The game was scoreless after the first quarter, with both defenses coming up big and both teams battling for field position.
“We matched them in the first quarter,” Zehnder said. “We came out and played with a good level of intensity, and the kids played the schemes well. I felt the defenses did a good job keeping both offenses bottled up and preventing big plays from happening early. They were able to establish better field position and we just couldn’t flip the field on them. That played to their advantage in the second quarter.”
DMA (6-3) scored twice in the second quarter on Alleyne’s rushing touchdowns of 10 and 13 yards. Neither team found the end zone in the third quarter, but then DMA put the game away in the fourth on a 5-yard rushing touchdown by Devon Green and a pick-6 by Edwin Maxwell.
“Unfortunately, this season has been defined by not being able to put all the pieces together,” Zehnder explained. “We get a big play and have an unnecessary penalty on the backside of the play. We protect well up front but can’t connect on the pass. We beat the defensive back deep but don’t protect well. We just haven’t been able to consistently put positive things together on the same play. Friday night was not any different.”
Newark didn’t score a touchdown for the third straight game. The Yellowjackets’ only points during that span came in the Middletown loss on a field goal by Zach Coffing. Newark’s struggles on first down didn’t help.
“We had some positive things offensively but a lot of times we were trying to make up yards after we lost a lot of yards on first down,” Zehnder pointed out. “It seemed like all our negative yardage plays or penalties happened on first down. It is tough to have to routinely pick up 5 or 10 more yards to get that first down and keep the drive going.”
Despite the team’s struggles, Zehnder singled out sophomore Tyran Rice as continuing to be effective.
“Tyran Rice deserves a lot of credit for what he does and for being a great young man,” he said. “Tyran has a had a few games where he has been very productive running the ball, but what goes unnoticed is the fact that he just keeps playing, he just keeps doing everything we ask him. Last week and this week, he stepped in and helped in other aspects other than offense. He gives teammates everything he has on ever y play and at every practice. He has taken some big hits this year and just gets up, goes back to the huddle and gives everything he has on the next play. He doesn’t do things with lots of flash, he doesn’t try to make highlight runs every time, he just plays ball and loves it.”
Last week of practice
With Newark’s Week 10 game looming and the end of the 2018 season near, the Yellowjackets will take to the practice field for the last time this week knowing that a win on Saturday will match last year’s three wins.
“We won’t use last year’s record to motivate them this week,” Zehnder said. “Saturday is a chance to end a season filled with lots of frustrations and unfortunate twists and turns on a positive note. We will stress that, we will stress that weeks one through nine can’t be changed in week 10. We will stress that Saturday is its own day, week 10 is its own week. The players get to determine what that means and how that gets defined at the end of the game.”
Unfortunately, one senior who won’t be practicing is captain James Jordan, who is done for the year after tearing his ACL while making a tackle in the DMA game.
“James is a throwback Newark High kid,” Zehnder said. “He is one of our captains this year, which is an honor that he certainly deserved and should be proud of for the rest of his life. James will be one of the players that our entire coaching staff will always consider a great story and even better young man. The last three years, he has been one of the hardest workers in every aspect of this program. He is one of our best weight room kids, he has an overall 3.8 GPA, he is at every NHS football community service event, and he has worked very hard to become a good football player. He has a very bright future and we are very thankful for what he has done for our program.”
Playing for pride
It will be two teams playing strictly for pride when Newark takes on St. Elizabeth (4-5) on Saturday afternoon at Baynard Stadium. With both teams officially eliminated from playoff contention, the seniors will be hoping to end their high school careers on a winning note and the underclassmen will be trying to help them accomplish just that.
St. Elizabeth, another Division 2 opponent, has had an up-and-down season under first-year head coach Marvin Dooley. After a 4-1 start, the Vikings have lost four straight games, most recently a 31-21 setback at St. Mark’s. The Vikings were shut out in two of the losses (Wilmington Friends and Archmere), and scored just seven points against Academy of New Church in Pennsylvania. St. Elizabeth scored at least 20 points in its four wins, including 45 in a lopsided homecoming victory against Glasgow.
“Marvin Dooley and his staff are in their first year, so I am sure they are working to develop the identity of their program and that takes time,” said Zehnder, who is finishing up his third year at the helm of the Newark program. “Very rarely do you take over a program and don’t experience bumps in the road. I am sure they are looking at Saturday as a way to end the season on a positive note and carry the momentum into the offseason.”
Kickoff is Saturday at 2 p.m. at Baynard Stadium.
The Buzz from the Hive will be posted online each Monday morning during the high school football season and also in Friday’s print edition. It will include some game analysis and exclusive quotes from Newark High football coach Barry Zehnder and select members of the team after they’ve had a chance to watch game film, evaluate their performance, and begin preparation for the next game.