Yel­low­jack­ets fall to DMA in cross-divi­sional bat­tle

Newark Post - - SPORTS - By JON BUZBY JonBuzby@hot­

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.”

Of­fense sput­ters

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.”

Game ball

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.

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