Howard running back Devin Dawkins spent the entire second half Friday on the sideline with ice on his wrist, but the smile remained. With his team up 28-0 at the half after the junior found the end zone three times, the Lions didn’t need to risk anything with their dynamic runner.
Dawkins did his job, rushing for 130 yards on just 12 carries, and Howard’s offense racked up 408 yards in a 41-0 shutout of Delaware’s Caravel Academy to improve to 7-0.
“I think the matchup favored us a little bit offensively against them,” said Lions coach Ross Hannon. “They locked up and played a little bit of man [coverage] on the outside and we took advantage of the box.”
Howard senior quarterback Robby Porter had one of his most efficient performances of the season, throwing for 133 yards on 8-of-11 passing. He found the end zone on his final play of the night — a 19-yard touchdown run that put his team up 34-0 on the last play of the third quarter.
Hannon was impressed with his entire offense but said the most important thing was no turnovers, which has been an ongoing trend for the Lions. Hannon said it’s been at least four or five weeks since his offense last committed a turnover, and on Friday they also had no accepted penalties.
“Obviously success in any game, whether it’s playoffs or regular season, it’s going to be about the ball,” he said. “If you turn the ball over you’re probably going to lose the football game. We’ve done a great job not turning the ball over and being advantageous of taking care of the field position.”
Howard scored on its first two possessions to take an quick 14-0 lead. Porter’s pitch to wide receiver Anthony Reid (two receptions, 90 yards) on the second play of the game went for 62 yards and Dawkins finished the three-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. Dawkins broke free to gains of 18 and 16 yards and then scored on a 1-yard run to finish a six-play, 78-yard drive minutes later.
The Lions had their only punt of the contest on their next possession but finished four of their next five drives with touchdowns. Dawkins avoided several defenders on a run up the middle and outran the rest on 55-yard touchdown scamper early in the second quarter to push the lead to 20-0.
Robert Agbai showed off his versatility, as he intercepted a pass at the Howard 26-yard line and then capped the ensuing drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. He then caught the two-point conversion to extend the advantage to 28-0.
Porter was a perfect 3-for-3 on the first drive of the second half, as Howard methodically moved the ball 68 yards on 12 plays with the signal caller finished things off on the read-option run.
His backup, Jerry O’Neill, completed his only pass attempt to Gabe Williams for a 19-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to start the running clock.
Caravel Academy, a private school located just outside of Newark, finished with 158 yards of offense but moved the ball well between the 20s. The Lions’ red-zone defense never budged, however, and earned their third shutout of the season and lowered its average points against to 5.0 per game.
“They’re huge up front, their technique is very good and they’ve got backs all over the place,” said Caravel Academy coach John Reed. “They also have 1,800 kids in the school and we’ve got 385, so that’s a big difference. But hats off to them. ... We just couldn’t finish and that’s on us.”
Howard (7-0) — 14 14 6 7 — 41
Caravel Academy — 0 0 0 0 — 0
Ho: Devin Dawkins 3-yard run, Michael Peter kick [7-0]
Ho: Dawkins 1-yard run, Peter kick [14-0]
Ho: Dawkins 55-yard run, kick failed [20-0]
Ho: Robert Agbai 2-yard run, Robby Porter pass to Agbai conversion [28-0]
Ho: Porter 19-yard run, kick failed [34-0]
Ho: Jerry O’Neill 19-yard pass to Gabe Williams, Peter kick [41-0]