Regular-season wins are necessary to get a team into the playoffs, but once there — all bets are off. It doesn’t matter if one team beat another 63-0 in the regular season, because in the playoffs, anything can happen and it most likely will.
The Lower Sussex Indians redeemed their lone regular-season loss to Woodbridge by defeating them 20-7 in the second round of the playoffs.
The Indians’ head coach, Jerry Kraft, explained that his team had practiced through an intense heat wave, which contributed to their Week 3 20-7 loss to Woodbridge. But he cited better preparation and hard work as the keys to success in their first playoff game of the 2005 season.
“We didn’t have the same depth that we have now. Plus, working in that heat took its toll,” said Kraft.
Woodbridge Head Coach Butch Yocum admitted that his team expected to win again following their 33-14 first-round win over Cape Henlopen.
“I think we came in a little too big-headed,” said Yocum. “We beat every team in the playoffs except for Laurel, and they are in regionals, so we thought we should win.”
Laurel maintained their unbeaten record for the third straight year, but it was Yocum and his Woodbridge squad that dealt Laurel their last defeat, four years ago. Woodbridge lost 26-20 in overtime and 38-28 last year.
Woodbridge was second in scoring to Laurel and allowed only six total touchdowns. Lower Sussex tacked on three more scores to Woodbridge’s final tally in the winning effort.
Running back Elijah Foreman led Lower Sussex with his powerful legs and swift feet, gaining 113 yards on eight carries for all three of the Indians’ touchdowns. Fellow back Tony Satchell added 69 yards on six carries (mostly on toss sweeps), giving the Indians a potent one-two punch in the ground game.
“Having two great running backs makes coaching easy,” said Kraft. “One complements the other.”
Satchell ran the wide plays and Foreman countered back across the defense for his yardage. Foreman rattled off two runs of 21, and other runs of 38 and 62, while Satchell scatted for runs of 25 and 40. Foreman also led the team with four tackles.
The Indians’ defense limited the second leading offense in the league to 107 total yards and one touchdown (on an Austin Perry quarterback sneak).
Down the entire game, Woodbridge was forced to pass, but Perry was only able to complete four of 12 passes, for 35 yards. They held 200-per-game running back Josh Quiznos to 47 yards on 10 carries.
“Quentin is strictly a speed back,” said Yocum. “Foreman has the speed and strength to run inside or out. Quentin isn’t as powerful to get those tough yards.”
Lower Sussex will be one game away from winning the Pop Warner State Championship when they square off with Harrington at Weseley College on Nov. 20 for a 12 p.m. kickoff.
“There were 10 to 12 Harrington people watching our game, so I’m sure they’re going to try to pass on us,” said Kraft. “We’re working all week to be better prepared for them, like we were against Woodbridge.”