While Turkey Bowls and traditional Thanksgiving NFL games will be the sports highlights for many this long holiday weekend, there are other local events to consider attending once your food has digested.
Let’s start with Friday night when the University of Delaware men’s basketball team hosts University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The Hens have started the season with a 6-0 record.
University of Alabama Birmingham transfer Nate Darling is lighting up the scoreboard averaging 26.4 points per game. The redshirt junior from Nova Scotia is shooting a scorching 56 percent from the field and an even more impressive 58 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. The 6-toot-5 sharpshooter has led the Hens in scoring in all five games in which he’s played.
“Nate is a talented offensive player and can hit deep shots, and always makes the right plays on the floor,” head coach Martin Ingelsby said after the Hens’ 79-64 win over St. Francis on Nov. 19.
Besides Darling, three starters – Kevin Anderson, Justyn Mutts and Ryan Allen – are averaging 12 points per game, and 6-foot-11 redshirt senior center Collin Goss is playing like a big man in the middle should, pulling down six rebounds a game and effectively shutting down opposing centers, all while chipping in his share of points.
"We're potent on the offensive end since everybody can run and shoot, which makes us pretty hard to guard,” Goss said after his 10-point performance against St. Francis. “Becoming stronger and being a fifth-year guy has made it easier for me to get points down low."
Tipoff Friday night is 7 p.m. at the Bob Carpenter Center. Tickets can be purchased online at BlueHens.com or at the ticket office on game night.
Championship Saturday at UD
On Saturday, the six best football teams in their respective divisions are playing in state championship games at Delaware Stadium.
Hodgson Vo-Tech plays Middletown in the Division 1 title game at 1 p.m. The game features a Middletown program that has been a mainstay in the championship game for the past decade taking on a Hodgson squad making its first appearance ever as a Division 1 representative at Delaware Stadium.
The Silver Eagles played on Tubby Raymond Field as a Division II team in 2014, falling 42-0 to Laurel High School in the state championship game.
Middletown is making its eighth appearance in the title game during the 2010s. The Cavaliers last played at Delaware Stadium in 2017, losing to Smyrna as the Eagles captured their third consecutive state title. Current UD starters quarterback Nolan Henderson and running back Will Knight led that Smyrna team, which dominated the high school football scene for a three-year period as no team has since Newark High in the late 1990s.
The Special Olympics Unified flag football game takes place at 4:30 p.m. and pits McKean High School against Dover High. It will be McKean’s second trip to Delaware Stadium in the three-year history of Unified flag football. The other came in 2017 when the Highlanders lost to Newark Charter School as the Patriots captured their second straight title. Dover High School is making its first appearance in the championship game. Both teams went undefeated during the regular season.
The Division II nightcap is a matchup between two teams that have both won the state championship in recent years. Howard Vo-Tech won the school’s first football state championship in 2015, while Woodbridge High is the defending state champion. The Blue Raiders also won the title in 2016. Kickoff is 6 p.m.
Tickets are $8 – one ticket gets you into all three games – and available online at www.doe.k12.de.us/diaa or at the Bob Carpenter Center ticket office. Spectators are encouraged to purchase tickets online.
While there aren’t any official local high school games scheduled for the holiday weekend, Glasgow High is taking part in a boys basketball scrimmage day at Wilmington Friends on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. Newark High’s girls team is traveling to Delaware Military Academy on Saturday for the same at 11:00.
Newark Charter’s wrestling team will be at William Penn High School on Saturday as one of nine teams taking part in scrimmage matches at 9 a.m. All play days are free and open to the public.