Caesar Rodney opened the 2012 high school football season with a resounding 28-14 road victory over Newark Friday night at Hoffman Stadium.
Senior running back Adrian Trammell electrified the crowd by taking the opening kickoff 82 yards up the middle of the field for a touchdown. Junior Eric Kobus added his first of four PAT’s to make the lead 7-0, only twelve seconds into the first quarter.
The Riders’ defense then recovered a fumble on the Yellow Jackets first play from scrimmage, setting up a short 24-yard touchdown drive. After several short runs, Trammel raced 21 yards for his second touchdown at 10:26 of the opening stanza to give the Riders a 14-0 edge.
Trammel would leave the game later in the quarter after sustaining a minor ankle injury.
The Yellow Jackets, who returned only two starters from last year's squad that made it to the Division I championship game, showed their youth and inexperience by turning the ball over three times in the first half.
Caesar Rodney – 28, Newark – 14
11:48 CR - Trammell, 82 yard kickoff return, Kobus PAT CR 7-0
10:26 CR – Trammell, 21 yard run, Kobus PAT CR 14-0
10:16 CR – Horton, 17 yard run, Kobus PAT CR 21-0
2:52 N – Wallace, 16 yard pass from Stubbs, PAT missed CR 21—N 6
11:46 CR – Jones, 2 yard run, Kobus PAT CR 28—N 6
1:10 N – Wallace, 25 yard pass from Stubbs, Stubbs run CR 28 –N 14
“This was a nice opener for us,” said Caesar Rodney coach Mike Schonewolf. “We did some real nice things in certain phases of the game. I thought our defense played well, and I thought our special teams made some plays and we were pretty solid in those areas.”
As the game progressed into the second quarter, both defenses began to settle down and take control. Newark had a few scoring opportunities, but the young squad was thwarted by the Riders’ aggressive defense, a few miscues in the offensive backfield, and a number of ill-timed penalties.
The Riders moved to a three-possession lead when Devon Horton rumbled for a 17-yard touchdown run at 10:16 of the second quarter. The play capped a 14-play, 85-yard drive. Horton’s run was set up by a key run from Damani Jones.
Newark finally sustained a nice drive late in the third quarter that ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Keith Stubbs to Day’Quan Wallace. The first extra-point attempt was good, but was nullified by a penalty. The second attempt was wide left.
The Riders extended the lead to 28-6 early in the fourth quarter when Jones blasted in from short-range. Newark battled back, but was unable to score again until late in the fourth quarter. The Jackets tried an on-side kick, but the Riders maintained possession to run out the clock.
“You're trying to make sure everyone isn't so nervous and anxious at the beginning of the game that they're able to function,” Newark head coach Butch Simpson said. “Clearly, I don't think that happened. We didn't luck out and function. We were still showing our lack of experience.”
Caesar Rodney is now 1-0 on the season. They will play non-conference opponent Downington East (Pa.) Friday night, while Newark fell to 0-1. The Yellow Jackets’ next game is against Blue Hen Conference opponent William Penn Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. in New Castle.
“The first game is one that you’re never really sure about, but to play fairly well and come away with a win is a good thing, no doubt about it,” said Schonewolf.