This time last year, the Middletown Cavaliers defeated the Caesar Rodney Riders by a touchdown to advance to the state championship looking for a repeat. On Friday night, the two teams met again but this time the result was very different.
The Cavaliers used four straight first half scores to pull well out in front of Caesar Rodney, eventually running away with a 43-22 victory at Cavalier Stadium.
After falling behind early in last year’s semifinal, the Riders looked determine early on Friday night to not let it happen again. CR won the opening toss and chose to receive and proceeded to march down the field on their opening drive, taking a 7-0 lead capped off by a 17-yard touchdown run from Naquan Watkins.
Unfortunately for the Riders, it would be the last time they would see the lead Friday night.
The Cavaliers immediately answered the Riders’ opening score with a touchdown drive of their own. Boston College bound signal caller Darius Wade threw a deep bomb to fellow senior Chris Godwin for a 24-yard touchdown to tie things up a 7-7.
After thwarting the CR offense on their next possession, the Cavalier offense took over and wasted little time lighting up the scoreboard again. This time Wade launched a 80-yard touchdown to a sprinting Dennis Berger to give Middletown their first lead of the game.
In their next possession, aided by an earlier pass interference call against CR, Wade was forced out of the pocket by Rider pressure but scampered loose and even hurdling over a defender on his way to a 17-yard touchdown run. After two straight Rider offside penalties during the extra point, the Cavs decided to go for two and Godwin took an outside handoff to the right side to put Middletown up 22-7.
Alex Kemp and the Rider offense tried to respond in their next possession, driving near midfield when disaster struck. Kemp rolled out to his left and was hit from behind, fumbling the ball which was picked up by the Cavaliers and returned to the Rider 20 yard line. With yet another golden opportunity to score, Wade once again showed up with another spectacular play.
As in the last Cavalier score, Wade was forced out of the pocket but was able to break loose scoring from 20-yards out this time.
The Riders stayed tough, shaking off the shock of the Cavaliers four straight scores to compose themselves and lead a scoring drive before the half. Kemp found Watkins for his second score of the game on a nicely executed screen pass to cut the Middletown lead to 29-14 at the break.
The Cavaliers refused to let the Riders back in the game, though, as they struck twice in third quarter to pull away for good. First, Wade found Berger again on an 8-yard hookup, then, Wade connected with his other favorite target Godwin on a 10-yard touchdown pulling the Cavs ahead 43-14.
Page 2 of 2 - The Riders would score again in the fourth on a Kemp quarterback keeper but it wouldn’t be enough.
Now, the Cavaliers await their opponent, as they’ll face the winner of Saturday night’s semifinal game between Salesianum and Dover.