Dennis cousins take the field together at Rising Freshmen All-Star Game

WILMINGTON — Last fall, Millsboro cousins Alton Dennis and Dani Dennis-Sutton helped lead their middle school team to an undefeated record.

As Alton heads off to Sussex Central High School as a freshman this fall, he and his cousin teamed up one last time at the inaugural 302 Elite Athletes’ Rising Freshmen All-Star Game Saturday night.

“It was definitely a fun experience to play this game with each other,” Alton said.

Suiting up for the Rising Stars, Alton and Dani started at left guard and left tackle, respectively, along the squad’s offensive line.

Although it ended with a 16-8 loss to the Future Phenoms squad, it was nice for the pair to suit up one final time before Alton heads off to Central.

Left guard Alton Dennis (52) and left tackle Dani Dennis-Sutton (33) started along the offensive line for the Rising Stars squad Saturday night (Sussex County Post/Ben Heck).

“I like to see the competition around Delaware,” Dani said. “People who came out here tonight got to see all the talent with have in this state.”

Dani, heading into his eighth grade year at Millsboro Middle School, hopes to lead his team to another undefeated record this fall. After that, the Dennis cousins will once again have the opportunity to play side by side as Sussex Central Golden Knights under head coach John Wells.

In Saturday night’s showdown, running back Isaiah Johnson (Lake Forest ’21) broke the game open for the Future Phenoms, taking a hand-off and running it 90 yards for a touchdown on the Phenoms’ first drive of the game. The two-point conversion made it an 8-0 game in the opening quarter.

On the Phenoms’ second drive, the offense drove down the length of the field and quarterback Jeron Phillips Jr. (Tatnall ’21) tossed a touchdown to put his team ahead 16-0, which turned out to be the halftime score.

The Rising Stars turned the ball over on downs in each of their first three offensive drives in the first half of play.

The Rising Stars squad cut the lead in half with a six-yard touchdown pass and a successful two-point conversion in the fourth quarter, but the Future Phenoms’ defense sealed the victory with one final stop. The Future Phenoms won the inaugural event, 16-8.

With a nice turnout crowd-wise, and beautiful weather, 302 Elite Athletes owner/director of scouting Isaiah Fleming was happy with the way things turned out.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “It was just all through the grace of God, he blessed me with a nice turnout. Everything was all for the kids. I’m just so happy for the kids, so happy for the parents, I’m just happy for everyone. That’s what it’s all about.”

Alton Dennis is ready to hit the field as a Sussex Central Golden Knight this fall (Sussex County Post/Ben Heck).

By taking some of the best rising high school freshmen and incoming eighth graders from surrounding states and mixing them with talent from Delaware, Mr. Fleming is hoping to create some much-needed exposure for Delaware kids.

“It was a very competitive game,” he said. “What I did was I took some of the top players from New York, top players from Maryland, some of the top players from Philly, and I put them all on the same field as the Delaware kids. Why? To get some of the Delaware kids some exposure playing against some of the top kids in the states surrounding them. It makes them look better. So it brings more attention to the state of Delaware. This is much needed and I plan on making this bigger and better every year.”

Mr. Fleming and his 302 Elite Athletes staff already have ideas for the organization’s next event.

“We’re already planning our next event,” he said. “I know what to expect now, so we’ll plan accordingly.”

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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