Trojans play stellar defense but stumble on offense

WORTON — The “should haves” are starting to pile up for Kent County’s football team.

The Trojans should have been up 14-0 at halftime and should have won Saturday’s game, but instead they trailed 10-0 at intermission and played a futile game of catch-up against the visitors from Seaford, Delaware.

Seaford (1-1) drove away with a 24-6 victory despite fumbling five times and being intercepted twice.

The Blue Jays committed a turnover on their very first possession, but, in what has become the script for the Trojans, they were unable to score once inside the red zone.

“It should have been 6-0. … That should have been our first win,” Kent County coach Harold Somerville said matter-of-factly in a telephone interview Sunday afternoon.

Instead, the Trojans slipped to 0-3, held to a touchdown in each of the three games and having been outscored 107-18.

The play of special teams and a freshman quarterback still learning to read the field are the two biggest challenges, according to Somerville.

But, under the heading of good news, the Trojans played outstanding defense on Saturday.

“They played their tails off,” Somerville said.

JySir Valentine and Dylan Schauber each recovered two fumbles. Jamarcus Downs also recovered a fumble and Larry Steward picked off two passes.

Taion Johnson led the team with eight tackles, Valentine and Steward had seven apiece, and Ryan Myers had six. Other standouts on “D” were Mekhi Rogers, Wyatt Toulson, Wesley Townsend and Nick Price, each with at least four tackles.

Seaford’s defense put the first points on the board, a safety early in the second quarter. The snap from about 6 yards out sailed over the head of Kent quarterback Dwan Harris and Seaford pounced on the ball in the end zone.

The Blue Jays extended the spread to 10-0 with only 17 seconds remaining in the opening half, scoring on a 30-yard corner route and then running in the 2-point conversion.

Kent sputtered on offense for most of the second half, beginning with its first possession. Steward’s catch-and-run along the visitors’ sideline gave the home team first-and-goal at the 2, but the

Trojans could not punch it in. They turned over the ball on downs on the 1-yard line.

Seaford didn’t fare any better on the ensuing possession, with Myers’ tackle in the backfield on fourth-and-inches squashing the drive at the Seaford 8.

A dead ball foul for taunting pushed back the Trojans to start on the 23. There was a QB sack followed by an incomplete pass on third down, and ultimately Kent was forced to punt from the Seaford 40.

Starting at its own 15, Seaford fumbled on the second snap of the series. Valentine scooped up the loose ball at the 24 to set up Kent’s one successful drive of the afternoon.

On fourth-and-1, following a Valentine catch-and-run over the middle for a gain of 9 yards, Harris, working out of the shotgun, ran through the defensive line untouched before being brought down at the 11.

The Trojans scored on the very next play when Harris hooked up with Jonah Somerville on a flat route with 3 minutes, 48 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

The try for two failed when Harris was chased out of the pocket and tackled at the 15-yard line.

With a score of 10-6 it was now a one-possession game with plenty of time, but the Trojans would get no closer.

Seaford scored on the next series, punctuating a 58-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Justin Jackson with 37 seconds remaining in the quarter. Everette Burton ran in the 2-point conversion to stretch the lead to 18-6.

After Scottie Ford scooped up the kickoff and picked up a couple of yards on the return to the Kent 35, Harris on a quarterback keeper moved the chains to the 42 on the final play of the third quarter.

On second-and-3 to start the final frame, Harris snared a high snap and scrambled to the 46 for a gain of 4 yards and a first down.

The Trojans crossed midfield courtesy of back-to-back first-down completions to Valentine and Steward, making it first-and-goal from the Blue Jays’ 4 with just under 10 minutes to play.

Again, the Trojans faltered.

Harris was tackled for a big loss after he chased after a poor snap, followed by two incomplete passes. On fourth-and-goal from the 18, Harris threaded two defenders to find Somerville for a gain of 6, but Seaford took over on downs on its own 12.

The ensuing drive ended on the Kent 30 with 4:48 remaining when Steward came up with his second pick of the afternoon. But the Trojans were pushed all the way back to inside their own 10-yard line when two players were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Somerville and then Steward caught passes for first downs — Steward’s was for a gain of 18 yards — to move the sticks to the Kent 37 with about three and a half minutes to play.

But on third-and-7, Harris was intercepted near midfield.

Seaford scored on a quarterback dive on the last play for the 24-6 final.

In Sunday’s telephone interview, coach Somerville said he was “disappointed, but proud.”

“This was the best we’ve played,” he said.

Pivoting to a passing attack in the second half proved fruitful with Harris connecting with Valentine, Steward, Jonah Somerville and RJ Peterson.

“We were able to move the ball,” coach Somverille said, “but we couldn’t score.”

Kent is home again this week — Friday, Sept. 22 against Parkside. The opening kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. Tune into the high school’s radio station, WKHS (90.5) to hear the play-by-play of student broadcasters Andrew Buckel and Emma Morris. Or you can click the “Listen Live” button on the WKHS website: www.wkhsradio.org

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