After suffering its first loss of the season to Salesianum School, 26-13, Sept. 24, the Caesar Rodney High School football team has a difficult competitor in Loyola-Blakefield School waiting for it this weekend.

After two impressive wins to open its 2010 campaign, the Caesar Rodney High School football team hit its first down point of the season last weekend.

The Riders (2-1, 0-0) lost its week three game to Salesianum School, 26-13, Sept. 24 on its home field.

Head Coach Mike Schonewolf’s team got off to a good start as junior running back Dermaih Gibbs scored on a 54-yard run less than two minutes into the game to give CR a 6-0 lead after the extra point was no good.

That moment, however, proved to be the only go-ahead score for the Riders in the game, as the Sallies’ (3-0) run game controlled the line of scrimmage and Sals senior running back Ryan Kilpatrick rushed for three touchdowns.

Though Salesianum seemed to have control of the game, the Riders hung with the defending state champions through the final whistle, something Schonewolf said his team could build on.

“You’re never pleased unless the result of the ballgame is in your favor,” he said. “I did see some good things in our team and I thought that we grew from week two to week three as a team.

“We were able to compete and compete at a higher level, so we need to use that as a launching pad for continued improvement as we go through the season.”

The out-of-conference schedule for the Riders wraps up this weekend as they play host to Loyola-Blakefield School (1-3), a tough competitor out of Maryland, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1.

This will be the first time this year the Riders are approaching a game coming off a loss, but nothing in the preparation changes for the team, senior fullback/middle linebacker Miles Hunter said.

CR has prepared to the tune of a successful routine through the season so far, Hunter said, and to break that routine now would only complicate things.

“We know what we’re doing every day of the week and there’s comfort in that,” he said. “And when we don’t prepare the way we’re used to preparing, that’s when it messes things up.”

CR met with Loyola-Blakefield for the first time last year, losing the contest 43-14.

This year, with an idea of what to expect from the team, Schonewolf said he thinks his team is in a better position to come out with a win.

“Anytime that you play somebody and the same coaching staff more than once, you develop more of a familiarity with who they are and what they like to do,” he said. “So sure, we feel a lot more comfortable than we did last year.”

The game marks the final contest for the Riders before they finish the season with six straight Henlopen Conference games.

Even though the Henlopen games carry a bit more emotion with them and the conference championship is seemingly on the line from week to week, Schonewolf said its crucial that his players don’t look past this weekend’s game.

“If you’re going to grow as a team, you grow week by week, game by game, day by day,” he said. “You don’t allow yourself the misfortune of looking past anyone. That’s a recipe for failure.”

WHO Caesar Rodney High School (2-1, 0-0) vs. Loyola-Blakefield School (1-3)
WHEN 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1
WHERE Rider Stadium, 239 Old North Road, Camden

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