The Caesar Rodney Riders began a new era in 2019 as lacrosse head coach Matt Faircloth stepped down after five successful season, making way for former assistant and player William Johnson.

When there’s a coaching change, things can take time to jell. In this case, familiarity has helped a great deal.

“The transition has been smooth,” Williams said. “Being an assistant under Matt the past two years has given me incredible insight on how the program runs. I have an amazing staff which includes my two brothers, Bubba and Gehrig, and Ryan McQuaide, Justin Upp, Brendon Butler, Sam Limpert and Da’Quan Gibbs.

“The team has had a smooth transition, having some familiar faces around the program in terms of coaches in different roles.”

Another benefit are the 20 returnees from last year’s state finals team.

“We have a lot of core guys back from last year, which helps a young team find its identity,” Williams said.

Among the returning group are Sean Wooleyhand and Jimmy Cava on the offensive end, with Jackson Phillips, Myles Lawrence, Zach Davis and Evan McCleary back on the defensive side of things.

Back at the faceoff are Riley Tracey and Dane Wilson. Jake Stant rounds out the returning starters, back to guard things between the pipes.

“It helps having these guys back to lead our younger players because they understand the expectations my staff and I have put on them,” Williams said. “Having those guys returning as the foundation helps grow the program.”

Every team has a rallying cry and for the Riders, it’s ‘Always Compete.’

“We preach competitiveness in our program,” Williams said. “‘Always compete’ is a saying the players see on the locker room door every day they head out to practice. No matter what adversity the team is facing, we must attack it head on with a competitive edge.”