It's been a disappointing season thus far for the Dover Senators. With a record of 2-3, their championship aspirations are fading away, and fast.
Having stumbled early in the season, Friday night's contest against the impressive Cape Henlopen Vikings becomes nearly a must-win for the Senators.
And while none of Cape's victories this season have come against teams with a winning record, the Senators must approach this game cautiously. If they continue to play inconsistently, and beat themselves with mistakes, they could walk off the field Friday night at 2-4. Then, the real panic will set in.
The Senators have reason to worry, as they themselves haven't been all that impressive this season. They have fallen to three top-ranked teams, Salesianum, St. Mark's and Sussex Central last week. While only defeating the state's resident doormat, Delcastle and a Smyrna team they were able to simply overwhelm through the air.
No one will argue that Dover has loads of talent and athleticism. For some reason or another, they haven't been able to pull things together so far this season. Whenever they seem to find some momentum, they're knocked back down. And that holds true from quarter-to-quarter.
At times, the Dover offense has shown explosive big-play ability. Many times this season, the offense has put the team up by double-digits early in games only to watch the lead slowly slip away.
The Senators have beaten themselves with costly turnovers that have led to points against. This has also put a defense that has allowed 100 combined points in their last three contests in very difficult situations. The defense has been worn down, which has cost them late in games.
Bottom line, the Senators must play better and more consistently on both sides of the ball.
The light at the end of the tunnel for the Senators is they are capable of playing better. They've shown flashes of it all season long in virtually every quarter of every game. What comes next is putting together a solid, 4-quarter effort.
While Cape Henlopen won't likely be a walk in the park, Dover clearly has the upper hand on paper. However, we all know the games aren't played on paper, they're played on the field.
The Senators hope they can look back to this Friday's game as the week they turned it all around. If that's to be the case, it's now up to them to fix the mistakes that have gotten them off to such a poor start this season.