It seems fitting that Woodbridge QB Troy Haynes will wrap up his high school career playing Wilmington Friends on Saturday.
The senior will hit the field for a 6th time against their unlikely rivals, in what has become one of Delaware's best non-geographical match-ups.
"It's never a dominant game between them and us," Haynes said Monday. "It's always a great match-up, and it comes down to the wire, that's what I love about playing Wilmington Friends"
(VIDEO: Haynes throws a touchdown pass to Gabe Wescott against Friends in 2017)
Haynes was a back-up in 2015 when Antwain Holden suffered a 3rd quarter injury against Friends, sending the freshman onto the field in a 28-23 loss to the Quakers.
"[Head] Coach [Ed] Manlove just called me over and said trust what you can do. It came down to the wire, just like every other game (against them). We didn't come out on the winning side, but I'm always going to remember that moment."
It was a promising beginning for Haynes, who completed 4-of-6 passes for 62 yards and a touchdown in the game.
The starting role became his, and after losses to Lake Forest and St. John Paul (VA) the next two weeks, the Blue Raiders rolled off 6 straight victories, including a quarterfinal upset of DMA, before losing to St. Georges in the state semifinals.
It proved to just be the start for Haynes and the Blue Raiders, who pulled off the perfect 13-0 state championship run in 2016, including two wins over Friends: 35-7 in the regular season, and a dramatic 14-9 triumph at Delaware Stadium in the title game.
"During my freshman and sophomore years, it was definitely a lot different than I expected. I wasn't expecting it to be as fast-paced as it was. After adapting to it, it got a lot easier for me. Without the help from my coaches and teammates, it wouldn't have been as easy as it was."
After graduating a core group of seniors, the Blue Raiders finished 8-2, good for 3rd in the Henlopen South, in 2017, but a 24-23 loss to Milford in the state quarterfinals ended any hopes of a repeat.
Included in that season was a victory over Division 1 Dover, where he threw for 220 yards and 5 touchdowns. The dual-threat also ran for 217 yards during the season.
Coming into this season, Haynes said he had a goal, and a game plan to get there.
"Playing at the college level, I have to work on my mechanics and footwork. Everything slowed down after really taking my time to work on those things, so that helped a lot."
He's thrown for a career-high 1,256 yards and 18 touchdowns this year, but he tossed for just 72 yards on 4-of-13 passing against the Quakers in a 24-21 loss.
He wants to reverse his performance this time around.
"We didn't execute very well, and that's one thing we're trying into this week. Wilmington Friends is a very disciplined team, they don't make many mistakes, so we have to come out and execute and play how Woodbridge plays."
Haynes added taking business classes since 8th grade has sparked a love of the potential major, which he hopes to study while playing football, whether as a quarterback or not.
Saturday will mark Haynes' 46th start as Woodbridge's QB, where he sports an impressive 37-8 record. It will mark the end of one of the most successful four-year runs in recent Delaware memory, one he hopes levels his record against the Quakers at 3-3.
Haynes and the Blue Raiders will get that chance Saturday night at 6 p.m. at Delaware Stadium. You can hear the game on 101.7FM WDEL as part of our Championship Day Coverage.
BLUE RAIDERS NOTES: Saturday will mark the final game of Head Coach Ed Manlove's career. Manlove led Laurel to the 2008 title game, and won the 2016 title with Haynes as Woodbridge's QB.. Jamon Kane is Woodbridge's leading rusher with 1,507 yards and 19 touchdowns... WR/DB Gabe Wescott figures to be a key player to watch, he leads the Blue Raiders with 614 receiving yards, and also 6 interceptions, he even boasts a 66-yard kickoff return... A Woodbridge victory would give the Henlopen South a 3rd straight Division 2 title for the first time since Delmar rolled off 3-straight from 2000-2002, the league also won 4-in-a-row when Delmar (85), Laurel (86-87), and Indian River (88) won titles.