The high school football season is right around the corner. For high school teams, there’s reason to be optimistic about their chances. There’s no better time to take a look ahead at some of this year’s top matchups for the Caesar Rodney Riders, Dover Senators, Lake Forest Spartans and Polytech Panthers.
The Riders are coming off a 7-3 season which saw them advance to the Division I playoffs for the first time since 2013, as the No. 6 seed. No. 3 Hodgson knocked out CR in the opening round.
Saturday, Sept. 22 At William Penn 1 p.m.
An early season test for the Riders, they’ll go against William Penn on the road in Week 3 of the season, one of five straight road games to start the year.
The Colonials have been one of the state’s best over the past few seasons, reaching the Division I state semifinals in each of the last two seasons. William Penn won the DI state title back in 2014.
Last season, the Riders hosted the Colonials, falling in a close one, 19-14.
Friday, Oct. 5 At Smyrna 7 p.m.
In a measuring stick game, the Riders will travel to Smyrna to take on the defending champion Eagles.
The Eagles have become the gold standard in Delaware High School football, and even without the stars that helped lead them to three straight titles, the Eagles enter the year as the favorites to do it again.
The two squads met last season in a game where the Riders showed some fight against the Smyrna juggernaut. CR put 37 points on the scoreboard but fell in a shootout to the Eagles, 54-37. The Riders haven’t tallied a victory over the Eagles since 2013.
Friday, Oct. 12 Vs. Cape Henlopen 7 p.m.
A week after taking on the DI defending champions, CR will return home for their 2018 homecoming game against Henlopen North foe, Cape Henlopen.
Caesar Rodney has won two homecoming games in a row and looks to make it a third against the Vikings, who they defeated last season, 27-6.
The Vikings will have a new look, with former St. Georges Tech head coach JD Maull now manning the sidelines at Cape.
Despite finishing last season with a 2-8 mark, the Senators enter this fall backed by some solid playmakers on the offensive end, which might make Dover a contender in the Henlopen Conference.
Friday, Oct. 12 Vs. Sussex Tech 7 p.m.
Beginning the second half of their regular season schedule in mid-month, the Senators will host Sussex Tech in their 2018 homecoming game.
The game with Tech will be the first of five straight Henlopen North matchups as the Senators wrap up the season.
Dover will be looking to win their third straight homecoming game after knocking off Polytech last year 42-7, and to avenge a one-sided defeat at the hands of the Ravens last year.
Friday, Oct. 19 At Smyrna 7 p.m.
A week after homecoming it will be the Senators’ turn at trying to upset the state champions when they travel to Smyrna Oct. 19.
Like rival Caesar Rodney, Dover had a hard time with the talented Eagles last season, falling to Smyrna 54-21. The Senators haven’t defeated Smyrna since 2014, a 41-22 victory on the road.
Friday, Nov. 9 Vs. Caesar Rodney 7 p.m.
While Caesar Rodney had a bounce-back season a year ago, returning to the postseason, the rivalry between the Riders and Senators hasn’t been what it used to be.
This year’s meeting between the two in early November is primed to be a good one. Dover will be looking to avoid dropping a second loss to CR after falling to the Riders 27-17 last season.
The Senators last defeated the Riders in 2016, a 27-17 win.
The Polytech Panthers quietly had a successful 2017 season, finishing with a winning mark at 6-4. They will have some big challenges ahead, including five matchups against teams that made either the DI or DII playoffs.
Friday, Sept. 28 Vs. Caesar Rodney 7 p.m.
Last season, Polytech posted a character win over the Riders, grinding out a 7-6 victory. Before that, the Panthers had dropped four straight to the Riders.
Another big win over the Riders this time around may propel the Panthers even further in their quest to become a contender in the conference.
Friday, Oct. 19 Vs. Sussex Central 7 p.m.
A few weeks after meeting the Riders, Polytech will host another Henlopen North team, Sussex Central, for their 2018 homecoming.
The Panthers will look to make it two homecoming victories in a row after defeating Laurel 21-7 last year.
If they’re to do so, they’ll have to break a five-game losing streak to the Golden Knights.
Friday, Nov. 9 At Smyrna 7 p.m.
For the fourth season in a row, the Panthers will wrap up their regular season schedule against Smyrna. It has amounted to scrimmage games for the Eagles, but the Panthers hope to show they’ve grown when they meet this time around.
Polytech has dropped four straight to the Eagles. The last time the Panthers defeated the
Eagles was in 2013, a 14-point victory, 34-20.
In the Henlopen South, the Lake Forest Spartans enter the season looking to better last year’s
Saturday, Oct. 13 At Delmar 1:30 p.m.
Starting out the second-half of their regular season schedule, the Spartans will face a stiff test when they travel to take on Division II champion Delmar.
The Spartans have dropped their last two against Delmar, including a 40-13 loss last season. Lake Forest last defeated Delmar in 2015.
Saturday, Oct. 27 Vs. Seaford 12 p.m.
Two weeks after facing off against the defending DII champions, Lake Forest will host Henlopen South foe Seaford in their 2018 homecoming.
The Spartans look to make it two homecoming wins in a row when they host Seaford after beating Indian River 28-14 last year.
Lake Forest has won nine straight against Seaford, with their last loss all the way back in 2008.
Friday, Nov. 9 Vs. Milford 7 p.m.
In their season finale, Lake Forest will host rival Milford in the “Battle of the Bell.” The Spartans have failed to capture the bell in each of their last two meetings, losing 42-7 last season.
Lake Forest’s last victory came in 2015, a 39-26 win. It was also the last year the Spartans
made the DII playoffs.