The Caesar Rodney High School football team lost its first game of the season this past week, when a series of mistakes led to a defeat at the hands of Salesianum School. The Riders will have another tough test this weekend when they play host to one of Maryland’s top programs in Loyola-Blakesfield.

Through the Caesar Rodney High School football team’s (2-1, 0-0) first two games, the Riders made mistakes that could have cost them the game, but ultimately did not.

Their fate was not quite the same this past weekend, however, as costly second-half turnovers led to the Riders’ first loss of the season against Salesianum School (3-0), 49-20, Sept. 26.

Two fumbles and two interceptions in the second half of a rainy game handed the Sallies 28 points that put the contest well out of reach for CR after a first half which saw the Riders take a 14-7 lead into the locker room.

“We had a great first half,” CR Head Coach Mike Schonewolf said. “We were able to control the football on the offensive side of the ball, and put ourselves in a really nice position.

“The second half we had some misfortunate things happen that were a little bit uncharacteristic of our team. That put them into a pretty good position.”

The Riders got touchdowns from Phil Lewis, off an 11-yard pass from Keith Boris, and Malcolm Yowk and Daqaun Harris, both on the ground.

Things won’t get any easier for Schonewolf’s team as they play host to Baltimore-based Loyola-Blakesfield High School at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, at Rider Stadium.

Loyola went a perfect 11-0 in 2008 and was picked by The Baltimore Sun as the No. 2 team in Maryland. The team already is 4-0 this season and has put up more than 30 points in each of those games.

“They’re a very good football team,” Schonewolf said. “I don’t buy into any of those rankings, but they are a top program over in that area of Baltimore. It’s a nice-sized group that has been very successful.”

He added that scheduling a tough, out-of-state team like Loyola, while it massively increases the difficulty of the Riders’ schedule, only serves to make the team better.

“You always want to try and test yourself against the best, and non-conference games allow you to do those things,” Schonewolf said. “You get to find out some things about yourself. It gets you used to playing with the best and up to the best’s level.”

And while Loyola may be the toughest game on the CR schedule to date, the Rider coach said his team should be ready and prepared for what it sees Friday.

“Salesianum, Concord and William Penn are all very good football programs in the state of Delaware,” he said. “Every year, they’re going to have solid teams and they’re going to give you a chance to test yourself against some of the best.

“We like to seek out that kind of competition. We’re not afraid of things getting tough because we know how good we are.”

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Who: Caesar Rodney High School (2-1, 0-0) vs. Loyola-Blakefield High School (4-0)
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2
Where: Riders Stadium, Camden