The past high school sports year provided exciting moments, so let’s take a look back at some of the best from Sussex County. Several squads came away with state titles, with some claiming repeat championship while others made it to the top for the first time.
Cape Henlopen: Title Town
It was a banner year for Cape Henlopen sports as the school walked away with team titles in baseball, field hockey and girls lacrosse.
After coming close in recent years, the Cape Henlopen baseball program won its first-ever DIAA Division I baseball state championship in the spring. The Vikings went 15-3 during the regular season, earning the No. 4 seed and taking the title game against Caravel Academy, 5-3.
“These guys had so much pressure on themselves to do this right here, they just kept pounding and kept believing in themselves and knew they would never quit,” said head coach Ben Evick. “We told them coming into this game, ‘you couldn’t be in a better position’ and they came through big.”
On the mound, David Erickson delivered one of his best outings. The senior held Caravel to one hit through five innings and to just four overall, pitching 6⅔ innings to earn the win.
At the plate, four Vikings knocked in runs, including Erickson, Zach Savage, Jake Gelof and player of the year, Zack Gelof.
While the baseball team achieved championship glory for the first time, Cape’s girls lacrosse team kept their dynasty alive, winning a 10th straight DIAA Girls Lacrosse championship.
After steamrolling through both Padua and Archmere in the quarter- and semifinals, outscoring them 37-7, the Lady Vikings took on No. 2 St. Mark’s for the championship.
As they did in the previous two rounds, Cape jumped on their opponent early, gaining an 8-0 advantage at halftime. In the second half, they took care of business, holding off any attempt at a St. Mark’s rally and walking away with a 15-5 victory and another championship.
Lindsay Monigle led the way, scoring a game-high four goals, including her 100th as a Lady Viking.
Meanwhile, Catherine Frederick, Mallory Jones and Kaylie Truitt all had two goals apiece while Emily Monigle, Meredith Lockwood, Sawyer Walker and Anna Stancofski each finished with a goal in the win.
After seeing their run of four consecutive titles broken the season before, Cape’s field hockey squad regained the state crown, knocking off Padua Academy in the championship game, 5-0.
Noelle Sabbagh and Anna Stancofski scored for the Lady Vikings in the opening half, giving Cape a 2-0 halftime advantage. In the second half, Cape Henlopen would add three more goals, one from Jacqueline Cannon and two from Alla Marshall for a fifth title in six years.
Division I title
The Sussex Central Golden Knights added to the season of firsts, winning their first DIAA Division I football state championship by defeating Salesianum 33-7.
Central jumped on the board early in the first half when quarterback Isaac Barnes found brother Isaiah Barnes on long 59-yard touchdown to give Central a 7-0 advantage they held onto throughout the first half.
Sussex Central went up three scores in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, finishing off a long drive with Isaac Barnes’ second touchdown pass of the day, this time to Javon Toppin on a 14-yard TD.
With five minutes to go in the fourth, TyJhir Sheppard-Parker put things away for the Golden Knights by bursting free for a 56-yard touchdown, sealing the championship.
“We knew the hungry dog was going to eat, our defense was hungrier the whole game, our offense was hungrier the whole game,” Isaiah Barnes said. “We don’t give up, we don’t stop. It’s all gas, no brakes. That’s been our mindset all week, coming into this game. Once we get the foot on the throat, don’t let up.”