GEORGETOWN The Sussex Tech and Sussex Central defenses slugged it out for the first quarter and a half on Monday night until a familiar Ravens player made his presence felt.
Tech’s Timaun Williams picked off Brady Bowden’s pass with six minutes remaining in the half and returned it 35 yards to the Central 1-yard line.
One play later for Tech (4-0), quarterback Justin Hill turned around and handed it off to Pat Griffin for one of his three rushing touchdowns in the Ravens’ 19-7 Henlopen North football win.
“That was really key and the big one,” Tech head coach Mark Quillin said. “It was Timaun that got the pick and took it down to the 1. That’s what the spark was.”
After Griffin’s touchdown, the defenses went back to work.
The Ravens’ defense forced one more stop at the end of the half after Central’s KiAnte Sturgis ripped off a 42-yard gain into Tech territory.
Facing fourth and 6 from Tech’s 15, Central (1-3) chose to run the ball only to get stuffed in the backfield.
Down 6-0 at the start of the second half, Central received the ball and continued the momentum they had on their previous drive, pushing into Tech territory.
The Golden Knights faced another fourth down, this one on the 31-yard line, needing only two yards. But Sturgis met a wall of Ravens’ defenders.
Playing on Monday night caused concern for Quillin and the defense, but he was impressed how well his the unit played despite having the whole weekend off.
Senior middle linebacker Jordan Marvel said alignment is key against Sussex Central’s speed backs.
“Defensively, you got to keep them in the trenches and let the big men handle it,” Marvel said. “They’re tough up front. Sussex Central is a great team, and we knew it was going to be a dogfight. When it comes down to it, we had to win the trenches and that’s what we did.”
After back-to-back fourth down stops in the second and third quarters, Tech was able only to switch the field, pinning the Central offense deep in its own territory.
But it was another opportunity for the Ravens’ defense.
On third and 15, Central bobbled a reverse and the Ravens’ Orlando Kelley pounced on the ball at the Central 7-yard line.
One play later, Hill flicked an option lateral to Griffin and Tech led 12-0 with 3:35 left in the third quarter.
“Our defense does a nice job,” Griffin said. “We talk about it all the time, battling adversity. I think that’s what we did tonight.”
If there was one thing Sussex Central head coach John Wells could be happy about, it’s that his guys didn’t give up.
A goal-line stand gave Central the ball back with 8:22 left in the game.
Senior quarterback Chase Wells bootlegged for 14 yards to give Central some room to work. Timothy Jones sliced down the middle of the field for 27 yards, and then Sturgis hit the big one from 47 yards out to pull Central within five.
The Knights would then force a Tech into a third down and 9.
But the spark plug for the Ravens’ offense showed up once again.
Hill found Williams wide open on the left side of the field and the do-it-all back sprinted 50 yards to the Central 15, setting up Griffin’s final touchdown of the game with 1:29 left on the clock.
Williams had more than 100 yards of offense on a night where defenses made the difference.
He also had a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown that was Tech’s final score in the 27-26 opening-night win against A.I. du Pont.
“He’s kind of that guy that no one talks about,” Quillin said.
Hill was efficient in the passing game, completing 6 of 9 for 100 yards and rushing for another 20.
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