Friday night is 2018 homecoming for both the Dover Senators and Caesar Rodney Riders. The teams will take on Henlopen North opponents.
The Riders welcome a struggling Cape Henlopen squad, while the Senators play a Sussex Tech team still holding playoff hopes.
A program that hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2013, Dover has eyes on a possible postseason berth. They have a hill to climb in the form of five Henlopen North matchups, the first of which comes Friday night.
With a good idea about what kind of team he has at this point of the season, Dover head coach Rudy Simonetti is confident in his team’s preparation.
“I thought we had a good week of practice,” Simonetti said. “The kids practiced hard and the coaches did a nice job coaching.”
The Senators opened the season with three straight victories, including dominant wins over Archmere Academy and Concord, along with a two-touchdown win over a tough Woodbridge squad. They suffered their first loss to Sussex Central, a 21-0 shutout by the Golden Knights.
For an offense that’s put up point totals in the 30s and 40s already, it may be hard to critique that unit, but Simonetti believes there’s always room for improvement.
“I’d like to see us put together nice drives and sustain those drives,” Simonetti said. “If we get a quick score via a big play, then obviously we’ll take it. I want minimal mistakes on offense, and I think we’ve done a good job of taking care of the football this year so far.”
Ahead of a matchup against rival Sussex Central last week, Sussex Tech’s defense had been impressive through four games. The Ravens allowed only two of their first four opponents to reach double digits, while holding Salesianum to nine points and Mt. Pleasant to just six.
Sussex Tech head coach Mark Quillin gives the credit to defensive coordinator Clint Dunn, who is in his first year with the Ravens at that position.
“The defense is coming together nicely,” Quillin said. “[Clint] is intense, well organized and full of passion. His team first philosophy puts 11 black hats to the ball."
Meanwhile, Dover’s rival down the road will host Cape Henlopen Friday for homecoming. After a battle last week with three-time defending state champion Smyrna, the Riders find themselves in a similar position to the Senators in week six.
Caesar Rodney won their opener over Appoquinimink in a low-scoring affair, but dropped their next to St. Georges Tech in a one-sided 31-8 loss. The Riders responded, however, winning their next two games, a 38-13 win over William Penn and a 53-14 victory over Polytech.
Entering a matchup against Polytech in week five, Cape Henlopen was still looking for their first victory. Cape dropped their first four games, falling to Delmar, Suitland (Md.), Northeast (Md.) and Smyrna. The Vikings struggled, failing to top 14 points in all four contests, while allowing each opponent to score 21 points or more.
Caesar Rodney will host the Vikings Friday at 7:30 p.m.; the Senators and Ravens will do battle at Dover starting at 7 p.m.