On Homecoming, the Eagles (2-0 division, 3-2 overall) host Sussex Central (2-0 division, 5-0 overall) in a battle for control of the Henlopen Conference Northern Division.
After dropping their first two games of the season, the Smyrna High School football team has rebounded nicely, winning three straight heading into an important week six matchup against the undefeated Sussex Central Golden Knights.
Friday night’s contest isn’t just a key contest between two of the teams leading the Henlopen Conference Northern Division, but it’s also Smyrna’s Homecoming game.
The Eagles are coming off a 54-37 win at Caesar Rodney where they ran the Riders right off the field, powered by six touchdowns on the ground, including three from Stephen Whaley, two from Will Knight and one from Emon Roberts.
The Eagles have put their bumpy start behind them, rolling to three straight victories over Irvington High from New Jersey and divisional foes Cape Henlopen and CR for a 3-2 overall record, 2-0 in the division.
They look to increase their winning streak to four Friday night against the impressive Golden Knights who are 5-0 overall, 2-0 in the division.
Scouting report on Sussex Central
Sussex Central is one of only two remaining undefeated teams in the state, joining Middletown at 5-0.
Last week, the Golden Knights took down rival Sussex Tech 14-6, earning their second consecutive conference win after defeating Dover two weeks ago.
Central comes into Friday night’s game boasting an intimidating defense which they’ve leaned on heavily the majority of the season.
After five games, only two schools (Middletown and Salesianum) have allowed fewer points this season. The Golden Knights allow an average of just under 10 points per game, having kept three of their five opponents to seven points or fewer. In their last two games, Sussex Central has allowed just 13 points combined in wins over Sussex Tech and Dover.
Sussex Central’s record isn’t due to an easy schedule either, as they’ve beaten three teams, Hodgson, Queen Anne’s County (Maryland) and Caravel, who are a combined 11-5 on the year.
One area in which the Golden Knights would like to see some improvement is their offense. While their strong defensive play hasn’t made lighting up the scoreboard necessary, Central has struggled to score points at times this season.
They average 25 points per game. Only Polytech has fewer points this season among teams with winning records.
Smyrna’s high-powered attack
On the other hand, Smyrna enters Friday night’s game with the state’s top-ranked offense having scored 27 more total points than the second-highest scoring team, Middletown.
The Eagles are averaging just under 42 points per game, showing the same game-breaking ability that helped them claim the last two Division I state championships.
However, Smyrna is giving up a lot of points, allowing nearly 30 per game, with some of those scores being made by opponents’ defenses and special teams, and some coming in “garbage time” near the end of games. Still, Newark is the only team in Division I to allow more points than Smyrna.
So, this Friday night the state’s number one offense will go up against one of the state’s best defenses, and something has to give.
The Eagles and Golden Knights will kick it off Friday at 7 p.m. at Charles V. Williams Stadium.