After Middletown jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead, the Eagles closed the gap to 14-6 in the second quarter.
But the defending state champion Cavaliers went on to score four straight touchdowns to pull away before another Smyrna touchdown.
Junior running back Maurice McFolling scored two of the Eagles' three touchdowns with 58-yard run in the second quarter and a 31-yard run in the third quarter.
Junior running back TeQuan Boyer scored a touchdown off a 90-yard kick off return in the third quarter for Smyrna.
The Eagles did blank the Cavaliers in the fourth quarter against some of Middletown's second-string players.
Coach Clay Lloyd said he was disappointed because he thought the team was going to play better overall. However, the coaches continuously tell the players that one game doesn't make a season. So the loss to Middletown will not make or break the Eagles, plus the non-conference game won't count in the race for the Henlopen North division title.
"We need to learn from our mistakes. A sign of a good team is they don't repeat what they did wrong before," Lloyd said. "It's not so much what Middletown did as much as we didn't do our job."
One good point Lloyd pulls out from the loss is that the football team didn't quit. Lloyd said a lot of teams in that situation with that score would've stopped playing, but the Eagles pushed through the adversity and kept playing.
With the rivalry game against Middletown done and out of the way, the Eagles will host Brandywine next on Friday in another non-conference game. The Eagles defeated Brandywine last year 38-0.
How will the Eagles football team prepare for the game? Lloyd said by doing the same things they did to prepare for the Middletown game.
"You don't change how you prepare based on the opponent," Lloyd said.
Email Jennifer Dailey at email@example.com.