The Sussex County Warhawks semi-pro football team notched their first victory of the season, defeating the Kent County Fire 27-14 on March 12.
The team is beginning to gel as the offense is beginning to match the defense’s intensity.
“Right now we’re still getting used to each other, but we’re getting better. Our offense is getting better, but we still need better timing,” said Warhawks head coach Butch Yocum.
The offense was propelled by the play of quarterback Jason Rust, who completed 50 percent of his passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns. Rust was able to correct his mistakes from the earlier week against the Raiders and moved the chains this past week — averaging a shade less than 10 yards per completion.
“Jason did a great job adjusting from last week. He wasn’t able to convert on third downs last week but we talked and he made plays for us this week. The commissioner of the league named him the Player of the Game,” said Yocum.
Rust completed passes to four different receivers in the winning effort, but none of them made more happen than the Warhawks 6’5” wide receiver Andre Matthews. Matthews snagged seven passes for 165 yards and one touchdown. He broke open the game with the longest completion of the game, as he galloped 55 yards for the touchdown.
“Andre is 6’5” and there aren’t many guys who can hang with him physically,” said Yocum.
The running game was able to supplement the passing game this week — gaining 60 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown. Conversely, the Warhawks were able to limit the Fire to 50 yards.
The Warhawks defense swarmed the Fire offense for the entire 60 minutes. They were able to force five turnovers — one of which went for a touchdown — in the winning effort.
“Anytime you can create turnovers you have a better chance of winning the game. We didn’t protect the ball in our first two games and see how it turned out — we lost,” said Yocum.
The Fire had little time to throw the ball with the Warhawks defensive front constantly hounding them. The Warhawks were able to defend four passes and sacked the Fire quarterback four times as he often scrambled for protection.
“We did a better job knowing our assignments this week, and you could tell it paid off because our guys were in position to make plays,” said Yocum.
Linebacker Jonathan Meiklejohn led the team with 10 tackles and one sack. Team captain Tremond Conway was second with eight tackles, one sack, one interception and one forced fumble. Conway is the team leader for the season with 25 tackles, three forced fumbles, two interceptions and two sacks.
The Warhawks play the Talbot County Warriors March 19 at 11 a.m. at Rehoboth Elementary School.
The Warriors are 0-3 this season thus far and have struggled to score or keep their opponents out of the end zone. The Warriors have only scored six points in three games, while allowing 74 points.
“Right now we’re better than the Warriors and we should win the game. After the Warriors we have a bye, and then we play the defending league champions, the Saints, in a re-match of an earlier game this season. We’re looking to compete in our divisio