It's two state championships in a row for the multi-talented 2012 Middletown Cavalier football team!
The Cavaliers defeated Salesianum, no strangers to titles either, on Saturday night 27-0 in the DIAA Division 1 state title contest. Last December, Middletown edged arch-rival Newark 27-23 to earn a dramatic come-from-behind victory.
"You never get tired of it, that's for sure. This is a great group of guys and I couldn't be prouder. It's an outstanding group of young men and they can play some football, too," said Middletown Head Coach Mark DelPercio. "This group is very special, and it may just be one of the best team's ever," he added.
It might not be time yet to rename the city "Title Town," but the football program does have a remarkable legacy for winning the "Big Game!"
For those of us old enough to remember, Middletown, when the town was much smaller, was involved in the first-ever, official, state championship game way back in 1971. The Cavs lost to Wilmington High School 13-6, but the game and excitement it aroused, helped put Middletown football on the map and set the stage for some thrilling championship games over the years. Also, during the late 60s, the Cavaliers won more than 50 straight football games, which may still be a state record for Delaware.
Saturday's victory gives the team seven state titles, which includes four in Division 2.
Speaking of records, this year's team amassed a phenomenal 576 total points including playoffs, for an incredible average of 49 points-per-game. The defense let up only 132 total points for an average of 11 PPG.
"Defense wins championships, no doubt that our defense came up big tonight," said DelPercio.
"Our Defensive Coordinator, Coach Zach Blum and his staff have done a great job all season. We made some big plays on offense and especially on defense when we needed to," he said.
Salesianum coach Bill DiNardo, who ironically, led the Cavaliers to several state titles during his tenure in Middletown, had plenty of praise for his former team.
"I though we played hard, and played our backsides off. We played well for two or three plays, but we couldn't get a turnover, couldn't make a big play or a big first down when we needed it. It was because Middletown is an awesome team, that if you give them a second chance, if you miss a tackle, then it's light out! That's a tremendous team and they deserve to be champions," he said.
The Cavaliers won their first-ver D-2 title in 1978 when they defeated Archmere 26-8. After losing to Sussex tech in 1993, the team won three straight titles from 1997-1999, defeating Concord, Archmere and St. Elizabeth's. In their last appearance in a D-2 title game they lost to a great Delmar team 36-7. That Delmar team won three consecutive championships.
Page 2 of 2 - In 2004, The Cavaliers lost to Newark in their first D-1 title game, and won their first championship over Sussex Central by the score of 26-22, in 2007. In 2010, St. Mark's slipped past Middletown 37-25, and last season, it was the Cavaliers' turn and they beat Newark 27-23.
What about next year? This team will return at least two key players, quarterback Darius Wade and receiver Chris Godwin, so you can expect the team to be loaded with talent again, to make a third straight title run.
"Our goal is to come back, we're not going to stop. We're going to keep working hard to get back where we are right now," said Wade.
"I know the way our coaches coach that we can easily keep doing this year in and year out, and out coaches do a great job in developing our players, so I know we'll be back here next year!" he said.