WILMINGTON — Salesianum responded after an inauspicious beginning to their football game Nov. 20 against Hodgson. The Sals used a potent ground attack — led by Cooper Brown with 189 rushing yards and five touchdowns — to derail the defending Division I state champion Silver Eagles, 41-27, for their first win at Abessinio Stadium.
Hodgson came into the game scoring nearly 40 points per game, and on the second play from scrimmage, they showed why. Quarterback C.J. Henry unleashed a pass down the left sideline to London Bright for a 57-yard touchdown, and the Silver Eagles had a 7-0 lead just 24 seconds into the game.
But it was Sallies’ night after that. Buoyed by a powerful offensive line, running backs Brown, Joe Montooth, Donovan Morales and Brian Alleyne scooted all over the field, keeping the Silver Eagles off the field while building a lead.
On their first offensive drive, the hosts needed six plays to go 58 yards, all on the ground, to tie the game. Morales had a 23-yard run that set the Sals up at the Hodgson 18, and from there, Brown had three rushes of six yards apiece to get the team on the board.
Meanwhile, the Salesianum defense stiffened up after that opening sequence. They held the Silver Eagles on consecutive drives, and the defensive line was all over Henry throughout.
Montooth set up the second touchdown with a punt return to the Hodgson 6 in the middle of the first. A penalty made it first and goal at the 3, and Brown went off left tackle on second down to give the Sals the lead.
A bad snap on the ensuing Hodgson possession set Sallies up at the Silver Eagles’ 23-yard line. A Morales run for three yards, plus a couple of Hodgson penalties, gave the Sals a second down and one at the 10. Brown ran around the left side for his third score of the quarter. The extra point was wide, and it was 20-7 after a quarter.
Midway through the second, the Sals forced a three and out, and they took over after a punt at their own 47. Alleyne, a freshman, carried twice to get the ball to the Hodgson 43, and on third down and 16, Montooth took an end around down the right sideline 42 yards for a touchdown. Salesianum took a 27-7 lead into the half.
The Sals burned much of the third quarter with more running plays, but Hodgson did score on its lone possession of the quarter. Henry kept the drive alive with a 22-yard carry on third down to the Sals’ 5, and on the next play, Reggie McNeil scored to make it 27-14.
But that was as close as the Silver Eagles would get. Brown went up the middle with 7 minutes to go in the game to restore the 20-point lead, and after Henry found Ny’Ghee Lolley with a 3-yard scoring pass with3:48 remaining, Brown capped his evening with his fifth touchdown. Sallies started at the Silver Eagles’ 49 after recovering an onsides kick, and after another big gain on a Montooth end around, Brown finished the drive with a 10-yard romp up the middle.
Salesianum improved to 3-2 and will travel to Sussex Central next Friday at 7. The Silver Eagles had a 16-game winning streak snapped and fell to 4-1. Their last loss was in the 2018 state tournament against the Sals. They visit Middletown next Friday at 7:30 p.m.