After proving it could handle adversity in last weekend's game against Indian River High School, the Dover High School football team is preparing to start Henlopen Conference this weekend as it visits Smyrna High School.

It’s been only three weeks, but the Dover High School football team is starting to make its case to be considered among the state’s elite squads.

The Senators improved to 3-0, 0-0 with another lopsided win last weekend against Indian River High School (1-2, 0-0), 42-12, Sept. 24, on the road.

Through the first three games, Dover is outscoring its opponents by 37 points per game, but it’s the intangibles that have impressed Head Coach Carlton Brown so far.

The Senators went down early in the IR game by 6 points, an adversity they had yet to face this year. Brown said his 2009 team did not respond to poor starts like that, a worry that was put to rest against the Indians.

“One of the things I saw was character,” he said. “We wanted to see how our kids would respond in adversity, and they showed us by scoring 42 points unanswered.”

To ease those worries early in the season, Brown added, is a huge project as his team is preparing to take on its first Henlopen Conference game of the year this weekend.

The Senators will travel to Smyrna High School (0-3, 0-1) for its week four game at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1.

Even though Smyrna has yet to win a game this year, Brown said it’s no time for his team to become complacent, as conference games are always hard fought.

“We don’t overlook anybody,” he said. “Smyrna is a tough ball club. Their record doesn’t show how good they are. They play us tough. We’ve got to really focus and get our guys focused on what we want to do.”

It’d be easy for the Senators to look past the Smyrna game to the following weekend against St. Mark’s High School, but Brown said no matter what the records say, no game is easy and no team presents a guaranteed win.

“The thing is that [the coaches] put in their heads that there is no team they can take lightly,” he said. “Looking at Smyrna, you can’t look at records. These are two teams that are going to go head-to-head and fight for a win.”

With three straight wins to open the season, Brown is starting to see his team grow closer together, a process that began in preseason workouts.

Now that a high level of camaraderie is in place for the Senators, the coach just wants to see his players develop a level of consistency on the field.

“What happens, sometimes, is that you can find kids getting complacent,” he said. “The hunger, focus and drive, we want to get better. A lot of people are looking and starting to ask questions now, like, ‘Is Dover for real?’

“We’ve got to prove it to ourselves. When we thought we were something last year we weren’t. So we need to prove to ourselves that we’re for real this year.

WHO Dover High School (3-0, 0-0) at Smyrna High School (0-3, 0-1)
WHEN 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1
WHERE Charles V. Williams Stadium, 500 Duck Creek Parkway, Smyrna

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