It’s the game that both sides circle on their calendars when the schedules come out each season.  The rivalry between Dover and Caesar Rodney is one that stands up with the best in the state, especially on the football field.

On Friday night, the two will meet with something on the line for both squads.

The Riders have had a strong season; currently 6-3 CR has already clinched a playoff berth. However, a win over the Senators could mean a first round home playoff game.

CR is coming off of a tough loss to Cape Henlopen in a game that could have clinched them the Henlopen North division. Now, they will take on a Dover squad that has been through a rough season, but is still holding onto very slim playoff hopes.

While a loss isn’t the end of the world for the Riders, you certainly don’t want to head into the playoffs having lost two straight games.

For Dover, there is a lot more at stake. If they fall to the Riders on Friday night, it will be the end of what was once thought of as season with an awful lot of promise.

The Senators need a win on Friday night and some help if they are to get into the playoffs. Coupled with a win, Dover will need both A.I. du Pont and Cape Henlopen to lose their games this weekend.

The Senators entered the season as one of only a handful of teams in state championship consideration. However, the season hasn’t gone the way the Senators would have liked.  They haven’t been able to get past some of the top teams on their schedule, falling to Salesianum, St. Mark’s, Cape Henlopen and Sussex Central.

After their game with St. Peter’s Prep was canceled last week, the Senators enter an important match up having had lots of time to prepare. And, anyone who knows anything about high school football will tell you Dover has the talent, athleticism and speed to compete with nearly anyone in the state. Even though they have struggled this season, there is no one in the state that would be excited to see them in their bracket come playoff time.

The Riders would argue they have just as much talent as Dover, and they can back it up with some character performances. CR hung tough with both Salesianum and St. Mark’s, nearly pulling out a victory over the Spartans. They boast big wins over Sussex Central and the tough Pennsylvania school, Downingtown West.  

However, after 9 weeks of the regular season it all comes down to Riders and Senators. While this isn’t a playoff game, the fanfare and atmosphere just might fool you.

“Our rivalry with Dover is a very unique high school football rivalry and we know, just like Dover knows, how important it is to play well in that game,” said CR Head Coach Mike Schonewolf. “We are excited to play Dover and will put every effort we have into playing well this Friday night.”