The Smyrna Eagles advanced to the Division I Football State Championship Game after defeating No. 3 William Penn 48-0 on Saturday night.
The Smyrna Eagles are just one more win away from repeating as DIAA Division I Football State Champions after defeating No. 3 William Penn on Saturday night in the state semifinals, 48-0.
The Eagles’ trio of quarterback Nolan Henderson and dual-threat backs Leddie Brown and reigning player of the year Will Knight had the Colonials running in circles Saturday night.
Brown finished the game with three touchdowns on the ground, while Knight rushed for one score and caught one of Henderson’s two touchdown passes in the win.
Smyrna came out on fire, scoring 24 unanswered points in the first quarter to take a commanding lead early.
After an unsuccessful onsides attempt by William Penn to start the game, the Eagles wasted little time opening the scoring, finding the endzone on their very first drive, capped off by a one-yard run by Brown. Brown would also run in the two-point conversion, his first of three successful two-point tries on the night, and the Eagles led 8-0.
On the ensuing kick-off, the Colonials fumbled which was recovered by Smyrna. The Eagles’ offense went right back to work, as Brown found the endzone once again this time on a 46-yard rush. Knight would pound in the two-point conversion to give Smyrna a 16-0 lead with just over four minutes to go in the opening quarter.
William Penn attempted to respond on the next drive, finding themselves deep in Smyrna territory after a big-play set them up at the Smyrna six-yard line. However, the Colonials came up short on a fourth-down try at the two-yard line, turning the ball over to the Eagles.
Just a few plays later, Henderson hooked up with Knight who scampered 89-yards for a touchdown. Brown would run in another two-point conversion to give the Eagles a 24-0 lead with just seconds left in the first quarter.
After a Larsen Wilson interception gave the Eagles back the ball near midfield early in the second quarter, Henderson threw his second touchdown pass of the night, this one to Stephen Whaley from 27-yards. A Knight two-point conversion gave Smyrna a 32-0 lead going into the halftime break.
In the second half, the Eagles’ defense set up the offense yet again near midfield after a Jake Kaiser interception early in the third quarter. On the ensuing offensive drive, the Eagles put together another scoring drive, capped by a Knight 20-yard rush to the endzone. Another Brown successful rush for two-points put the Eagles up 40-0 with fewer than seven minutes to go in the third quarter.
Brown would add another touchdown before the third quarter was over, a two-yard rushing score, followed by a Knight two-point conversion through the air from Jamier Smith.
Smyrna’s signal-caller, Henderson, who finished the game with two touchdown passes, said it was important to jump on William Penn earlier, allowing the Eagles to dictate the tempo of the game moving forward.
“Everything was clicking for us,” said Henderson. “Everybody was doing their job and it allowed us to have some fun and open up the playbook a bit.”
For Head Coach Mike Judy, he was extremely pleased with how his team played against William Penn.
“Coach [Marvin] Dooley’s William Penn team is always well-coached and prepared,” said Judy. We knew they ran the ball very effectively with great athletes and played really tough defense throughout the year. During our bye week we worked on our fundamentals and once it was apparent we were going to face William Penn, we went to work game-planning against their potent schemes - I’m very happy with the way we executed.”
The Eagles now move onto the DIAA Division I Football State Championship Game next Saturday at University of Delaware where they’ll take on No. 1 Middletown at 1 p.m.
Tickets for the DIAA Division I State Championship Game are on sale at statechamps.com/DIAA