The Caesar Rodney High School football team did not make it easy this year, but ended the regular season with similar results as it is headed to the Division I playoffs yet again.
For the Caesar Rodney High School football team this season, the road through the regular season was a bit different, but the end result was the same as in recent years.
After defeating Dover High School, 43-13, Nov. 12, the Riders were in a position where they still had a shot at the state tournament, but they needed help to get there and had to wait a day to see if they’d get it.
That help came Nov. 13 as Newark High School comfortably beat Charter School of Wilmington, 37-13, eliminating Charter and giving CR a pass to the postseason.
Due to the difficulty of their schedule, the Riders not only made the tournament but leapfrogged over No. 6 Sussex Central High School, a team they lost to earlier this season, into the fifth seed, where they’ll visit No. 4 Salesianum School at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at Baynard Stadium, Wilmington.
That extra bump in seeding though, Head Coach Mike Schonewolf said, makes no difference to his team.
“We’re thankful to be included in the tournament,” Schonewolf said. “We don’t care where we’re seeded. It’s a new season and everybody is 0-0.”
The Riders and Sals met on CR’s home turf all the way back in week three of the season, with Sallies getting the better of their opponents, 26-13.
Since then, though, Schonewolf said his players are a totally different group, and coming off three straight wins are booming with confidence.
“I think we’re better now,” he said. “We were a team of development back in that stage of the season, as were they. We’ve gotten better and gained experience since then.”
Schonewolf added that the Riders have basically been playing playoff football for three straight weeks now, picking up wins over Sussex Tech and Milford high schools prior to the win against the Senators.
“We think we’re playing some of our best football of the season here,” he said. “We’ve continued to gain a lot of momentum.”
Even before this season’s match-up between the two teams, there is quite a bit of history between CR and Sallies in recent years, with things splitting almost down the middle.
In 2007, the Riders got the best of Sallies in the regular season, with the results reversing when the teams met in the postseason that year.
In the 2008 state championship season for CR, the team easily handled Salesianum in the regular season, but Sallies got its revenge in 2009, beating the Riders in both the regular season and the playoffs.
That means CR’s opponent has a solid three-game win streak on it right now in head-to-head meetings, a trend Schonewolf and his players will look to reverse this weekend.
“Our guys are going to be excited to be able to play in the playoffs and face a good football team,” he said.
WHO No. 5 Caesar Rodney High School at No. 4 Salesianum School
WHEN 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19
WHERE Baynard Stadium, North Park Drive, Wilmington
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