DOVER – The Dover High School football team have found the perfect cure for the late start to their opening Division I football match with Manchester Memorial – scoring early.
Sophomore Brady MacInnes went wild for a 62-yard touchdown in 52 seconds after Friday night’s game at Dunaway Field.
He was followed by three scores by senior quarterback Darian Lopez-Sullivan, a 94-yard kickoff return by Brett Davis and a 9-yard scorer by Christian Morrison as the Green Wave passed. in front of Memorial, 40-6.
“The kids did a great job responding right away,” said Dover coach Eric Cumba. “I think we played a really good game for three, three and a half.”
Lopez-Sullivan scored on 1, 4 and 40 yard rushes and had 122 rushing yards at halftime
Senior Conner Sheehan has converted 4 of 6 PATs.
Dover (1-0) led at halftime, 26-6.
Memorial scored his only touchdown of the night on a 60-yard screen pass from quarterback Braden Hafeman to fast rookie Chase Burris. That score reduced the lead to 12-6 in the first quarter at 4:30, but it was a short-lived momentum for the Crusaders. Eighteen seconds later, Davis was gone and raced for his long kickoff comeback as Dover responded.
Set the tone
Coach Cumba was a little worried about how his team would respond to the bell, especially when it became known that the Memorial bus was going to be late, causing a potential departure 30-45 minutes later than the kickoff. ‘dispatch scheduled for 7 p.m.
It turned out that it only lasted 15 minutes, but Cumba didn’t have to worry.
“The kids did a good job responding to that,” the coach said. “The children came out as if nothing had happened. This is to the credit of our senior leaders.
In the second game of the scrum, McInnes broke several tackles on the line, lost his shoe, before entering high school, and then left.
“Everyone did their job,” Lopez-Sullivan said with a laugh. “McInnes just brought the play home. It was a great way to start the game.
Coach Cumba said it was a big game early on. “A lot of it has to do with the attitude and the effort,” he said. “(McInnes) wanted it more than anyone at the time, and he made it possible.”
The McInnes race was one of the big three games. Davis followed with his 94-yard kickoff return and Lopez-Sullivan had a good 40-yard dash in the third period which started down midfield and ended with a sprint down the line. left touchdown during which he passed several Memorial defenders.
All three runs showed Dover’s superior team speed and ability to get rid of tackles.
“We just got off to a hot start,” Lopez-Sullivan said. “We were ready from the jump. The coaches have done a good job of getting us ready for this week. … We were on the same page. We came out on fire and excited.
Davis’ response to Memorial’s score was overwhelming. “I just saw a hole in the middle,” he said. “I saw him and hit him as hard as I could.”
There’s no question that Lopez-Sullivan is one of the best offensive players in the state, and on Friday he did nothing to tarnish that image with three touchdowns and good defense.
He minimized it.
“It’s just the offense we have,” said the senior quarterback. “These are the guys around me. I am surrounded by a large family. Everyone’s a playmaker. I’m excited. I’m just part of the circle too.
Cumba, however, liked what he saw. “He is playing at a level that we have never seen (before) now,” said the coach. “Obviously it’s important to maintain this. But it’s fun to watch it.
The defense takes a stand
Memorial arrived with a double-threat QB at senior Braden Hafeman and a solid back in sophomore Erik Seymore. They both played well, but Dover’s defense held them to just one touchdown – the screen pass to Burris that turned into a long touchdown.
“Our coaching staff and our returning players have done a great job preparing for this,” said coach Cumba. “We know the Memorial quarterback loves to run. We let him do it a bit. But then we did a good job forcing what they wanted to do. We held on when it mattered most on a few fourth downs. We had the choice (by Davis) on the sidelines at the end of the (first) half. … We did a good job of containing a very good offense.
Dover wanted to make a statement on Friday after ending the 2020 season on a negative note, a 14-0 loss to Exeter after a 3-0 start.
“Last year was tough as it ended,” Lopez-Sullivan said. “That’s the way it is. There is nothing we can do. We have to move on. We come even hungrier and better.
Having veterans is key, Cumba noted. “A lot of these guys are experienced,” he said. “They are three-year-old starters. They played football a lot. These guys have been in these situations. … The game is not too fast for them. It’s a bit slowed down and they’re comfortable. They understand what is going on around them.
GREEN WAVE 40, CROSSED 6
Memorial 6 0 0 0 – 6
Dover 19 7 7 7 – 40
DHS – McInnes 62 run, missed kick, 11:08
DHS – Lopez-Sullivan 4 run, missed kick, 7:06
MHS – Burris 60 pass from Hafeman, conversion failed, 4:30
DHS – Davis 94 kick return, Sheehan kick, 4:12
DHS – Lopez-Sullivan 40 run, Sheehan kick, 5:35
DHS – Lopez-Sullivan 1 run, Sheehan kick, 4:48
DHS – Morrison Run 9, Sheehan Kick, 4:37
RUSH: Dover, McInnes 9-132, Lopez-Sullivan 11-121, Davis 5-57, Morrison 2-29. Memorial, Seymour 19-101, Burris 3-12, Hafeman 12-7.
PASSAGE: Dover, Lopez-Sullivan 5-11-0 70. Memorial, Hafeman 9-16-1 128.
RECEPTION: Dover, Rubio 2-23, Davis 1-30, Carberry 1-23, Sheehan 1-9, McInnes 1-6. Memorial, McFarland 3-27, Alleyne 2-20, Seymour 2-11, Burris 1-60, Bergeron 1-10.