After an 0-2 start this season, the Eagles evened their record at 2-2 with the victory tonight over Sallies who entered the game 3-0.
After an 0-2 start, now the Smyrna High School football team has beaten the two teams that played in last year's Division 1 state title game.
Last week, the Eagles dominated defending champion Sussex Central, snapping the Golden Knights' 14-game winning streak, and tonight Smyrna topped last year's runner-up Salesianum which entered the game 3-0.
"A Herculean effort," Smyrna head coach Mike Judy told his players. "Out of this world."
Now the Eagles are 2-2, including a 1-0 record in the Henlopen Conference Northern Division.
Against Salesianum, the Eagles struck first when quarterback Aidan Sanchez connected with Makhi Jackson on a 61-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes into the first quarter. The two-point conversion run failed, but Smyrna had a 6-0 lead.
Salesianum drove to Smyrna's 27-yard line and tried a field goal but missed.
The teams traded punts until Salesianum scored on a quick pass and a long run for a 55-yard TD with 1:24 left in the first quarter. The extra-point kick was good to give Salesianum a 7-6 lead.
Sallies extended their lead to 10-6 in the second quarter with a 23-yard field goal with 5:35 left in the half.
Smyrna's next drive featured two big pass plays from Sanchez to Devin DeMoe bringing the ball into Salesianum territory. Then Wayne Knight's catch and run carried the ball to the 18.
After an offsides penalty on Sallies, Sanchez connected with Jackson on a 13-yard touchdown pass for a 12-10 Eagles lead. The two-point conversion try was no good, but Smyrna held onto the lead at the half.
In a scoreless third quarter, Salesianum made an interception to stop a Smyrna drive and got close enough to try a long field goal but missed.
With time running out in the quarter, Smyrna started a drive with a bang, as Sanchez threw to Jackson for a 23-yard gain to the Salesianum 47-yard line.
In the fourth quarter, Smyrna continued with the successful passing game, as Devin Smith caught a Sanchez pass for a 13-yard pick up, and a roughing the passer penalty moved the ball to the 20.
The Salesianum defense stiffened and forced a fourth and two play, but Smyrna drew Salesianum offsides for a first down. Then Wayne Knight raced seven yards to the end zone for an 18-10 lead with 8:43 left in the game. The two-point try was no good.
Salesianum drove into Smyrna territory but on fourth and two, Smyrna's Robert Wiley charged the quarterback and batted down the pass attempt.
Smyrna took over and drove toward what could have been the touchdown to put the game away, but Salesianum intercepted a pass at the goal line with 3:10 left.
A Smyrna player was injured on the return, and the game was stopped while he was put on a stretcher and an ambulance drove onto the field to take him to a hospital. But he raised his arm as he was being loaded into the ambulance, bringing cheers from his teammates and the crowd.
The Eagles' defense answered the challenge, holding Sallies on fourth and one as Hugo Harp tackled the runner for a loss.
Smyrna took over with 2:23 to play, but as the Eagles were trying to run for a first down, Salesianum forced a fumble for one more possession with 1:07 to play.
Then Smyrna's Raymond Nyameke intercepted a pass with four seconds left to seal the win.
NEXT GAME: Friday, Oct. 4 at home vs. Sussex Tech, 7 p.m.