Playoffs, a big-time rivalry, revenge, and bragging rights. There’s not much more you could ask for when it comes to high school football. Last night’s sectional semifinal between Yorktown (5-6) and Delta (6-4) lived up to the hype as the Eagles avenged last season's heartbreaking loss and defeated the Tigers 24-21.
Yorktown started with a clear game plan. Control the clock. They took their first possession and methodically worked their way down the field. The drive ate up just over nine minutes of the clock.
Multiple clutch third and fourth down conversions led to a short touchdown pass from senior quarterback Mason Moulton to junior wide receiver Ephraim Daugherty.
However, this would be all the offense seen from the Tigers for the rest of the half. The Delta defense was able to stifle any hopes of a run game by Yorktown with multiple tackles for loss (TFL) and sacks.
Delta head coach Christopher Overholt relies on his defense heavily and knows that he has something special.
“It’s our identity,” Overholt said. “We stopped the run and we pressured the quarterback. Tonight we put a lot of pressure on our secondary to be in man coverage, and those guys did a great job.”
Delta began to gain their footing on offense with a methodical drive of their own which led to a short touchdown run from senior running back Kaiden Bond, who scored two touchdowns on the night.
The following two drives by the blue and gold were not so methodical. On both drives, Bond broke big runs, scoring a touchdown on his own, and the other led to a score by Chase Ritchie to push the Eagles’ lead to 21-7 at halftime.
The second half was a much different story as both defenses came out fired up and neither offense could gain much traction. Although it wasn’t a shootout, Bond had the confidence that no matter what type of game was being played, his team could pull it out.
“Our team has the will to win,” Bond said. “They won’t give up no matter what the score is, or how much time is left…they’re going to go all out every play.”
Yorktown started the second half like they did the first, but this was a quick score on another pass to Daugherty for his second touchdown of the night.
It was more of the same to open the 4th quarter, but the Eagles seemed to have a promising drive going. That was thwarted by a wild snap to put them behind the chains, forcing them to settle for a field goal to push the lead to 24-14.
The Tigers wouldn’t go quietly. As time was winding down, Yorktown put together a two-minute drill scoring drive to close the gap on a touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Quintin Williams.
As their last gasp, Yorktown proceeded to attempt the onside kick. But it was to no avail as the ball was recovered by the Eagles to put it away.
This victory means a lot to this Delta team not only for moving on in sectionals but even just for bragging rights in this Delaware County rivalry.
“When we play each other it’s bragging rights for 365 days,” Overholt said. “We see each other in the community, and this game just means more. It’s one of the best rivalry games in the state.”
Throughout tonight's intense matchup, there was a need for energy on both sides. For the Eagles, that emotional leader was senior defensive lineman Braxton Russell.
“I’ve always had an unlimited motor,” said Russell. “I try to give that [energy] to my teammates to hype everybody up, and try to get them to reciprocate it back to me.”
With last night’s victory, Delta moves on to the sectional championship next Friday, Nov. 3, and will play at Garrett (6-5).
Contact David Moore with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X @gingninj63