Home > Friends football rolling along at 7-0 | USA Today High School Sports

Friends football rolling along at 7-0 | USA Today High School Sports

Quarterback Justin Beneck, shown against Laurel in last year's DIAA Division II semifinals, has helped Wilmington Friends to a 7-0 start this season.

Quarterback Justin Beneck, shown against Laurel in last year’s DIAA Division II semifinals, has helped Wilmington Friends to a 7-0 start this season.

Bob Tattersall, Delaware’s all-time leader in high school football coaching victories, knows how to get the most out of a team.

But Wilmington Friends graduated 15 players from last year’s 11-1 run, the biggest senior class in Tattersall’s 48 years on the sidelines.

The Quakers had a lot of holes to fill, but they have made it look seamless. Friends is 7-0 and ranked sixth in Division II going into Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. homecoming game against St. Andrew’s.

“We adapt pretty well, and we’ve been flexible,” Tattersall said Monday. “It’s never as easy as it looks.”

The Quakers have made it look easy, winning all but two games by double digits. Friends got touchdowns from five different players in last Saturday’s 61-22 victory at Tatnall.

“It’s a whole mix of guys who have stepped up and contributed in different ways,” Tattersall said. “We don’t have one outstanding star; that’s not our system. A lot of different guys score.”

Tattersall’s biggest concern was the offensive line, where the graduation losses were heaviest.

“I thought we’d be pretty good on defense, but offense has been the biggest surprise,” the coach said. “We had to really rebuild the whole line from end to end. We only had two or three starters coming back on offense.”

Ends Nolan Delaney and Tommy Cover, guard Blaise Glowiak, center Jason Saville and tackles Dalton Ramsey, Chris Wallace and Sean Cochran have joined tackle Matt Denney – the only returning starter – to form a solid unit up front.

Junior Justin Beneck has been effective as a returning starter at quarterback, with Johnny Gardner, Henry Gise, Andrew Jaworski, Stephen Maguire and DeVonte’ Church all seeing time in the backfield.

The defense has held four opponents to seven points or less, led by noseguard Tai Holden. Cover and Denney also contribute on the line, Jaworski and Gise plug the holes at linebacker and Gardner and Cameron Kendle lead the secondary.

The Quakers have won 18 of their last 19 games, the only loss a 14-0 setback against Laurel in the DIAA Division II state semifinals last year. Friends may have the ability to make another postseason run, but Tattersall didn’t build a 290-147-7 record by looking too far ahead.

“Our guys really go week to week,” he said. “They take it one game at a time, because they know that’s what you have to do in football.”

Concord Classic

Concord boys basketball coach Ralph Flowers has assembled another strong field for the annual Concord Classic, which matches some of Delaware’s top teams against interesting out-of-state opponents.

The first session of the two-day event will be Saturday, Jan. 16, with Concord meeting Flint Hill (Va.) at 2 p.m. and Smyrna taking on East Orange (N.J.) at 4.

The second session will start at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18, with Brandywine against West Chester East (Pa.). William Penn will follow against Westinghouse (N.Y.) at 11:45, with Mount Pleasant battling American History (N.J.) at 1:30 p.m.

Then the Concord gym will be cleared and a separate admission will be charged for the final session, with St. Georges facing Our Saviour Lutheran (N.Y.) at 4:30 and Salesianum wrapping it up against Downingtown East (Pa.) at 5:45.

Tickets ($10 for adults, $5 for students) will be good for one session. Proceeds will benefit Coaches vs. Cancer and Concord athletics.

Rounding it up

— Myron Jones, a second-team All-State selection in 1978 as part of a Wilmington High team that went 23-1 and won the state boys basketball title, died Oct. 13. Jones, 56, was a first-team Blue Hen Flight B conference selection the same year.

— Lindsay Burg, a senior setter at Conrad, plans to continue her volleyball career at Wesley College.

— Parker Barton and Vaishnavi Gundakaram of Camden; Christian Anyanwu, Christopher Gravelle and David Haynes of Dover; Halle Parker and Laura Brown of Magnolia and Colt Williamson of Harrington competed in the USTA Junior Team Tennis 18U National Championships over the weekend in Cayce, S.C. The group, which represented the USTA Middle States Advanced Section, finished 14th in the team standings.

— Sanford is seeking an assistant coach for boys tennis. Email Sanford athletic director Joan Samonisky at [email protected] for more information.

— The First State JV Classic for junior varsity boys and girls high school basketball teams will be held Dec. 27-29 at Central Middle School in Dover. Cost per team is $150 for one game, $225 for two games or $300 for three games. For more information, call Mark Sills at (302) 389-8558 or go to www.urbanyouthinc.com.

Contact Brad Myers at [email protected] Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ

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