The high school sports season ended in the past few weeks, and now, with the benefit of hindsight, I’m taking a look at some of the highlights from 2012-13. I’m going to name my games, teams and schools of the year.
Games include only those I was able to see in person. I wish I had the chance to watch a different high school event every night of the week, but that just isn’t possible. For teams and schools, I don’t believe seeing them personally is absolutely necessary.
I know these lists generate some dispute and discussion, and that’s great. Have at it in the comments below.
Game of the year
For me, this is a no-brainer. One of the best, most entertaining games I have seen at any level took place on Nov. 23, 2012, at Bob Peoples Stadium at Caravel Academy, when Caravel took on Indian River in a state Division II semifinal football matchup. The ending itself, a leaping touchdown reception by George Murray that gave Caravel a 43-42 win on the final play, would have been enough to put this one in contention, but this was four quarters of this kind of stuff.
Indian River led, 21-14, at halftime. The last punt attempt of the game was in the middle of the second quarter, and it was blocked. Every possession in the second half ended with a score.
The fourth quarter included a long touchdown run by Caravel quarterback Derrick Groomes on a fourth and 25. Indian River’s Aarron Moore then took the ensuing kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown.
Indians quarterback Marquel Knight scored three times, his last coming with just 43 seconds left, setting up Murray’s heroics.
In January, Ursuline and St. Elizabeth renewed their rivalry in girls basketball at the St. E Center. The top-ranked Raiders edged No. 2 St. Elizabeth, 50-49, as Brenna Williams hit a layup with 1.8 seconds remaining.
The teams would play two other very entertaining games, including the state semifinal, which St. Elizabeth won by four on its way to the state title. All three games were close, but I think this was the best of them.
Ursuline led at halftime, 28-18, but the Vikings opened the third quarter on an 11-point run and, after opening the final quarter down by eight, tied the score with an eight-point streak.
The teams traded the lead in the final minutes, setting up the final play. In front of a loud throng at the St. E Center, Williams calmly gave her team the win.
Padua vs. Ursuline in the state volleyball final. The Pandas were chasing their first state title against archrival Ursuline, which had defeated Padua in four previous finals.
Ursuline won the first and third games, but Padua, under first-year coach Lauren DiSabatino, would not give up. Playing in front of a huge crowd of black-clad supporters, the Pandas won a tense fourth game, 25-21, followed by a 15-8 clincher. The match ended with two blocks by Jen Borio, setting off an emotional celebration at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Team of the year
I’m standing with the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association here and going with the Middletown football team, which was largely unchallenged on its way to a 12-0 record and a second straight Division I championship. The Cavaliers simply had no peer last year.
Middletown was loaded with talent, including quarterback Darius Wade (committed to Boston College), running back Jamar Baynard, receivers Chris Godwin (Penn State) and Thomas Davis, and defensive lineman Jacob Smulski. The Cavs forced a running clock in every game except the state semifinal vs. Caesar Rodney, winning by an average score of 47-12. Most of those points allowed came after the starters hit the bench.
Middletown shut out Salesianum twice, including a 35-0 whitewash in the title game. The scary part if you’re a Division I football program in Delaware is that Wade and Godwin will be back next season to wreak more havoc.
A special mention goes out to Salesianum soccer and boys lacrosse, Cape Henlopen field hockey and girls lacrosse, Caravel football, Howard boys basketball, St. Mark’s baseball and St. Andrew’s boys tennis.
School of the year
On the basis of state championships won alone, this school would not be the winner. But on overall accomplishments for 2012-13, it’s hard to argue against Caesar Rodney, and they’re my school of the year.
The Riders had an outstanding year, particularly in boys sports, winning three state championships and coming close in several others. CR was victorious in indoor track, outdoor track and field, and golf.
In football, the Riders advanced to the semifinal round, losing to powerhouse Middletown by just a touchdown, 35-28. They were the only team to keep a Middletown game from going to a running clock.
CR finished third in boys cross country, with junior P.J. Gallucci coming in second in for individual honors. The girls’ cross country team placed fourth in the state championships; sophomore Rebekah Mills finished second. Both teams were 10-0 in regular-season dual meets. Both the boys and girls scored the minimum 15 points in five of their meets.
The boys went 14-3-1 in soccer, falling to Salesianum in the semifinals. The Riders went 13-2 in volleyball and lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Three Riders won individual championships in wrestling: Micah Hight (120 lbs.), Tony Scarfo (132) and Zach Parker (285). It was Hight’s third individual title.
The boys’ lacrosse team was 15-4 and advanced all the way to the championship game, where they lost to Salesianum. In girls soccer, the Riders were 16-1 and fell to eventual champion Padua in the semifinal round on penalty kicks.
That’s a darn good year.
It was a banner year on North Broom Street for Padua Academy. The Pandas won four state championships: volleyball, indoor track, outdoor track and field, and soccer.
Padua also finished second to Tatnall in Division II cross country, and the softball team advanced to the semifinals before bowing out to eventual champion Laurel by a 1-0 score.
Sophomore Maiya Dendy won three events at the University of Delaware High School Track Invitational in January. The event featured more than 1,200 runners from 43 schools in four states. Junior Alexis France was Delaware’s individual diving champion.