Monday, October 02, 2006

A Night to Remember

Sometimes wanting it more is not enough, then again, sometimes maybe it is.

Not many people thought Delaware’s Football Team had much of a chance going into their game with the University of New Hampshire at Delaware Stadium on Saturday Night. The Hens, despite their 2-1 record and their Number 17 Ranking, hadn’t looked real sharp for a whole game yet during the 2006 season. Even during their victory at Rhode Island the previous week the defense looked shaky at times, giving up too many big plays against the Rams triple option attack while the offense took just about the entire third quarter off before deciding to start moving the ball and scoring points again in the fourth.

New Hampshire meanwhile had cruised through their first three ballgames en route to the Nation’s top 1-AA ranking putting up gaudy numbers against little sisters Stoney Brook and Dartmouth while also posting an impressive win over Big Ten Power-Mouse Northwestern.

Joe Flacco wanted it. Perhaps more than anyone else on the Delaware Sidelines. Even though the Delaware quarterback had certainly played well in the first three games of the season the offense still looked, as News-Journal Reporter Kevin Tresolini jotted down in his notebook during the Rhode Island game, “deliberate” at times. The Junior Transfer from Pitt, no doubt already wondering when the “Transfer from Pitt” part will be dropped from his title, played at his best against UNH firing with patience, precision, and accuracy while, surprise surprise, his receivers even made some catches.

Ben Patrick also wanted it. Patrick, trying to do for Duke tight-ends what Shawn Johnson did for Duke defensive-ends three years ago, came to Delaware with the hope of winning some ballgames for a change and maybe getting a fresh look from the NFL scouts before next year's draft. It didn’t matter where he lined up on the field tight, slot, or split, the result was usually the same as Patrick caught more footballs than anyone in the stadium Saturday Night including New Hampshire’s, not-quite-in-the-record-book-just-yet, David Ball.

Rashad Woodard wanted it. Woodard tracked down the aforementioned Ball on a pass play on the game’s opening drive by running across the entire field and somehow catching up to the Speedy receiver and at the last second knocking him out of bounds at the one yard line preventing him from scoring his record 51st career touchdown. Then late in the fourth quarter after New Hampshire had gone up 45-34 Woodard, barely able to muster the energy from his exhausted body to get back on the field, snapped off a 76-yard kick-off return giving Delaware a ray of hope to try and pull off a miracle at the end of the game.

Of course, Omar Cuff wanted it because, well, Omar always wants it. The Legend continues to grow with each game. At one point he actually rebuked the Training Staff who wanted him go back into the locker room for x-rays after injuring his foot.

“I know my body,” he told us on the radio after the game, “I knew I could get back into that game. I knew I needed to be out there.”

Ken Hale wanted it, making play after play on Special Teams. Garrett Schultz, who has not so quietly made himself a force in the Delaware Defensive Secondary, surely wanted it. As did Keon Hendricks, Mike Byrne and the rest of the offensive line. Head Coach KC Keeler wanted it especially after being out coached two weeks previously during the Albany game.

There is little doubt that the Delaware players, the coaches, and the twenty thousand plus fans all wanted it for their team on Saturday Night at Delaware Stadium. All rose to the occasion and showed their best.

Unfortunately, for those players, those coaches, and those fans University of New Hampshire Quarterback Ricky Santos wanted it just a little bit more.

Bill Komissaroff

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