York, PA - When William Penn's Steve Ramos took the opening kickoff of the second-half more than 90 yards for a touchdown, the Dover
Riding the elation they had taken into halftime after scoring in the final second of the first half, the Eagles stayed positive and shut down the Bearcats for the remainder of the game on their way to a 51-26 win.
"We were on the edge, and it could have gone either way," Dover coach Bill Miller said. "When we got the ball back after that touchdown, we had some good plays but didn't do much with it. But, when you have a senior group like we do, they don't cave."
Miller and his staff worked to pump up the defense, reminding the squad that touchdown wasn't on them.
The defense responded, pitching the shutout to give the Eagles their first 5-0 start in 16 seasons.
"The fact that these seniors have hung together this long, after an 0-10 season when they were sophomores, I'm just so happy to see them be able to enjoy this and be in this position," Miller said.
Tanner Link was the Eagles' workhorse once again -- but it wasn't just his legs that led to the win.
The defensive stand in the second half, complete with two interceptions off William Penn quarterback Tavon Parker, and a fumble recovery worked in Dover's favor.
"Athletically, that's a great team," Miller said of the Bearcats. "The amount of speed and what they can put on the field, they're a threat to score at any time, as they showed in the first half. No lead is safe, so those turnovers were huge."
And quarterback Connor Snyder was stellar under center for Dover, completing 6-of-9 passes for 83 yards, including two touchdown passes to Caden Krout.
When he wasn't going to the air, the senior continued to perfect a play fake to Jared Shipley that led to a good chunk of his 56 yards rushing, including a 42-yard TD run in the third quarter.
"That (play fake) is one of the first plays we put in," Miller said. "It's mostly effective when you're able to move the ball. Connor does it really well, and Jared does it well.
"One of the little nuances of that play that you don't realize until you watch it a lot is that the tailback, who is Tanner, has to lead up through, and he led up through and threw a great block on that touchdown."
For all the success Dover found on offense, William Penn had a taste in the first half.
The Bearcats used big plays to find the end zone, including two 70-yard touchdown passes from Parker to Derek Wilson.
But the 14-7 lead William Penn built up in the first quarter was quickly washed away by the offensive juggernaut that is this season's Eagles, who took a 27-20 lead into halftime and never looked back.
Link, who entered the game with 602 yards rushing, finished with 251 yards on 20 carries, including four touchdown runs.
"The thing I was happy about with Tanner tonight is that he took the tough yards," Miller said. "I said to Tanner, if you get the tough yards, something may pop, and so what it was was just the process of him being patient. He showed a lot of guts tonight."
Dover 7 20 7 17 -- 51
William Penn 14 6 6 0 -- 26
Do -- Tanner Link 68 run (Jonathon Taylor kick), 11:33
WP -- Derek Wilson 70 pass from Tavon Parker (kick failed), 5:58
WP -- Darryl Simmions 4 run (Dakeem Dennison pass from Parker), 2:31
Do -- Tanner Link 34 run (Jonathon Taylor kick), 11:52
WP -- Wilson 70 pass from Parker (kick failed), 10:04
Do -- Taylor Link 18 run (kick blocked), :00
Do -- Caden Krout 32 pass from Connor Snyder (Jonathon Taylor kick), :00
WP -- Steve Ramos 91 kickoff return (kick failed), 11:46
Do -- Connor Snyder 42 run (Taylor kick), 1:41
Do -- Krout 19 pass from Snyder (Taylor kick), 9:59
Do -- Taylor 23 FG, 6:59
Do -- Taylor Link 26 run (Taylor kick), 3:52
-- Do -- WP
First downs -- 9 -- 7
Rushes-yards -- 42-375 -- 27-61
Passing -- 6-9-0 -- 12-21-2
Passing yards -- 83 -- 238
Total yards -- 439 -- 299
Punts -- 4-29.3 -- 2-32.5
Fumbles-lost -- 1-0 -- 1-1
Penalties-yards -- 1-15 -- 5-25
Rushing -- Dover, Tanner Link 20-251, Connor Snyder 5-56, Jared Shipley 9-42, Shane Adcock 3-17, Jordan Wynegar 1-8, Logan Ambrose 1-5, Mike Lopresti 3-(-4); William Penn, Darryl Simmions 8-40, Lorin Lutzinger 4-17, Kelvin Nieves 6-9, Tavon Parker 4-1, Markel Cash 2-0, Dakeem Dennison 1-(-1), Jared Posey 2-(-5).
Passing -- Dover, Connor Snyder 6-9-0-83, Jordan Wynegar 0-0-0-0; William Penn, Tavon Parker 12-21-2-238.
Receiving -- Dover, Caden Krout 3-61, Jared Shipley 3-22; William Penn, Derek Wilson 4-152, Lorin Lutzinger 4-45, Dakeem Dennison 3-26, Markel Cash 1-15.