Nothing feels better than to win a football game in the snow or rain. The inclement weather can wear on players because — face it — nobody likes to be cold and wet. But to persevere against Mother Nature and in the face of the enemy is surreal feeling.
“It lets us know that we can do what we need to do without dwelling on the weather conditions,” said Warhawks left tackle Darrell Trotter of their 6-0 shutout victory over the Kent Co. Fire on Feb. 18.
A random snowstorm blanketed the Seaford Boy’s and Girl’s Club playing field and a good portion of central Delaware, but that didn’t stop the Warhawks. They’ve played in nasty weather each of this season’s first three weeks and still came out on top with a 2-1 record thus far.
Offensive coordinator Butch Yocum admitted he likes to mix up the play calls and have a relatively even number of passes and runs. But teams have to run the ball successfully to win in the snow.
Martin Francois led the Warhawks with 74 of the 89 team rushing yards, which eventually led to the winning five-yard touchdown run by power-back Greg LaFreniere in the third quarter.
Yocum called only nine pass plays and they completed only two, but a second-quarter completion to Josh Ward was fumbled after a 33-yard run. That called a halt to any hopes of an air assault.
“I realized that we were going to have to run the ball well and that’s just what we did to start the second half,” said Yocum. “We ran the ball right down their throats.”
The Warhawks executed 10 straight running plays by Francois and LaFraniere for the punch-in-the-mouth score.
The Fire, on the other hand, had no success offensively. They totaled a paltry three first downs, which marked the second straight week the Warhawks defense has accomplished that feat.
The Fire tried to air it out, but the Warhawks defense held strong and refused to give up a positive gain.
Defensive backs Darnell Strand and Leroy Jenkins each had five defense passes in the game (most in the fourth quarter as the Fire tried to gain ground) but it was the pressure applied by the front four that stopped the Fire before it could spread.
Defensive tackle James Jackson led the team with six tackles and showed great range by tracking down a running back on a sweep for a no-gain.
Jackson, fellow lineman Alex Haynes and Trotter recovered fumbles, as well, in addition to clearing running lanes for the back. But a time is coming when they’ll only play one-way, due to a couple recent additions to the team.
“We picked up a couple of defensive lineman at practice (Feb. 21), so we’ll be able to have more of a rotation,” said defensive coordinator Greg Quail. “We’ll be able to rotate six to eight guys on the front line to keep them fresh.”
Trotter noted that playing one-way will be a welcomed change but said he is eager to help where he can to get the win.
“Now I can concentrate more on offense but can come in if they need a good pass rush,” he said.
The Warhawks also added former Wesley linebacker Chris Horsey, which will enable injured linebacker Tremond Conway to move to the outside. Though the Warhawks have been without Conway thus far this season, his return to action against the Talbot County Warriors on Feb. 25 will no doubt only escalate the Warhawks’ dominating defensive statistics.
The Warhawks will travel to face off with the Warriors at Easton Middle School in a 2 p.m. game on Feb. 25. The Warhawks (2-1) are currently in a three-way tie with the Fire and the New Castle Raiders for second place, behind the Saints (3-0).
The Warriors have a 0-2-1 record and tied the 0-1-1 Wicomico Stallions 0-0 on Feb. 18.