The Caesar Rodney Riders are coming off an impressive 20-9 victory over Sussex Central last week. They enter Week 7 of the football season at 4-2 now tied with the Golden Knights for second in the Henlopen North.
This Friday, the Riders will face yet another Henlopen North foe, the Smyrna Eagles.
The Eagles, coming off a tough 7-3 loss to the Sussex Tech Ravens last week. Now, at 3-3 on the year they badly need a win on Friday night against CR.
While the Riders sit near the top of the division as of right now, a lot can change between now and the end of the season. With only four games remaining, all against Henlopen North opponents, every game becomes crucial.
Lurking below the Riders are Smyrna, Sussex Tech and Milford all sitting at 3-3 for the season. A loss this week coupled by a few wins for teams below them in the standings could tighten up the race in the Henlopen North.
Even though the Eagles haven't played their best football against high quality opponents, CR Head Coach Mike Schonewolf knows the Eagles will be coming to play come Friday night.
"Coach Lloyd has done a great job with the Smyrna football team as they have made the transition into the Henlopen North. Smyrna is always well prepared and they play a tough brand of football," said Schonewolf. "We have to be prepared to stop an offense with big play potential and a disciplined defense. It is our Homecoming game and our players will be motivated to perform well in front of our community."
All three of Smyrna's wins are against teams without winning records. The combined records of the teams the Eagles have beaten is 4-14. They were handled by Middletown to begin the season, then fell to two struggling squads, Dover and Sussex Tech.
The Riders can't take the Eagles lightly, however their play on offense and defense the last few weeks has proven just how good a football team CR can be.
Last week the Riders defense held a Golden Knights team that had scored a combined 134 points in their previous three games to only 9 points. And, their offense overcame some mistakes to put some solid points on the board.
A win on Friday night goes a long way in putting CR in position to control their own destiny.
"We work hard at treating each game with an equal amount of importance," said Schonewolf. "The better you do (it) makes the next game that much more important and we like that pressure. Our team needs to continue to develop fundamentally so we can be at our best."