The Eagles won by playing like groundhogs, with a power running game that ate up a lot of the clock, while the defense made several key stops and big plays tonight in the football team's first win of the season.
With the score 0-0 and Irvington, New Jersey driving deep into Smyrna territory in the second quarter, the outlook was bleak for the Eagles' football team tonight at home.
After starting the season 0-2, the Eagles received more bad news when their top running back, Will Knight, couldn't play because of an injury he suffered in last week's loss to Franklin, Maryland.
But with Irvington knocking on the goal line, Smyrna's defense rose up and stopped the drive on fourth and goal from the four.
Then Smyrna's offense took over with 7:24 left in the half and used nearly the entire clock, marching 98 yards down the field with the "earthquake" power running formation used during two-point conversions.
Stephen Whaley carried for several first downs on the drive, and then Isaiah Wilson had two big runs to bring the ball to Irvington's two-yard line.
With 24 seconds left in the half, Whaley followed his blockers into the end zone, then ran for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 Smyrna lead. And just like that, the Eagles, with the support of their home crowd, grabbed the momentum and rode it to victory.
In the third quarter, the Eagles' defense forced Irvington to punt after three downs.
Smyrna took over at the 10:18 mark and started another time-consuming drive, capped by Whaley's second touchdown of the night, this time from five yards out. Whaley also ran for the two-point conversion to give the Eagles a 16-0 edge with 5:46 left in the third quarter.
After forcing another Irvington punt, Smyrna took over on their own 15-yard line with 3:56 left in the third quarter.
On a quick pass to the Smyrna sideline from quarterback Isaiah Wilson, the ball was deflected toward Makhi Jackson who grabbed it and raced 85 yards down the sideline for an Eagle touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, but Smyrna had a 22-0 lead with 3:43 left in the third quarter.
Irvington stayed in the game, with a 52-yard touchdown pass just seconds later to pull to within 22-6 at the 2:59 mark of the third quarter.
After Smyrna punted, Irvington's drive was quickly snuffed out by an interception by the Eagles' Jeremy D'Aguiar.
The Eagles couldn't move the ball on offense, but punter Anthony Buscemi boomed a punt which took a Smyrna bounce and was downed by the Eagles on Irvington's two-yard line with 31 seconds left in the third quarter.
Smyrna's defense held strong, but on fourth and one, Irvington faked the punt and ran for the first down. Using two quick pass plays, Irvington drove to Smyrna's 33-yard line, then connected on a touchdown pass to make the score 22-12 with 11:03 in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion failed.
Later in the quarter, Smyrna's defense came through, when Akil Garrett intercepted an Irvington pass and raced 38 yards for a touchdown. Whaley's two-point conversion run gave the Eagles a 30-12 cushion late in the fourth quarter.
With less than a minute to play, Irvington scored on a 23-yard pass play. The kick was no good for the final 30-18 score.
NEXT GAME: The Eagles (1-2) begin their Henlopen Conference Northern Division schedule next Friday, Sept. 29, hosting Cape Henlopen at 7 p.m.