Eastern’s keys to victory
WHAT WENT RIGHT
The Eagles remembered who they were, and what it was that got them here, refusing to fold under under the pressure of a 19-point third-quarter deficit. By picking up the pace of his team’s no-huddle offense, quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was able to find some rhythm with his throws – and he found a couple of wide receivers in Bandon Kaufman and Nicholas Edwards, who were willing to make sure they tracked those throws down.
WHAT WENT WRONG
In the first half, just about everything. Delaware was gashing Eastern’s defensive with its short passing game and running of Andrew Pierce, and the Eagles offense was abysmal both on the ground and through the air, accounting for just 62 total yards in the first two quarters. They have halftimes in championships game, too, however, which proved to be just what the Eagles needed to make the necessary adjustments on both sides of the football run down the Blue Hens.
It didn’t seem like much at the time, but when Delaware’s nickel back Jake Guisti left the game with a knee injury just moments after the Blue Hens had bumped their lead to 19-0 midway through the third quarter, it forced coach K.C. Keeler to adjust some of his coverage in the secondary. As a result, Anthony Walters, who done a great job of covering Brandon Kaufman most of the game, was moved off Eastern’s talented sophomore receiver who then made several great catches that seemed to ignite the offense.
It seems almost cliché, but the best player on the field again this night was Eastern’s senior linebacker and Buck Buchanan Award winner J.C. Sherritt. The two-time All-American was all over the field once again, making a game-high 18 tackles. And after them game his head coach Beau Baldwin and several teammate said it was Sherritt’s leadership and discipline during tough times in the first half that helped keep everyone believing.