Caesar Rodney endures rain, lightning delays to win opener over Appoquinimink 12-7

CR’s Patrick Jelliffe (87) and William Burke (6) close in to sack Appoquinimink quarterback Antonio Alvarez Quintero. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

MIDDLETOWN — It took nearly three hours, steady second half rain and two lighting delays while overcoming multiple turnovers and penalties, but Caesar Rodney High took a season-opening 12-7 football win over Appoquinimink Friday night.

Junior linebacker Jeremiah Brown was part of a stalwart defense that allowed just one early score and shut down the hosts the rest of the way on 11 straight possessions. He explained the eventual success over so much adversity as being “All about never giving up and believing in each other.

CR’s Emanuel Kennedy takes a handoff from James Love and looks for running room around the left end.

“You’ve got to have faith it the teammates beside you. It’s all about trust and spirit, you can’t ever give up on each other. That’s really all it’s about.”

Despite the mishaps in what he described as an “ugly win” CR coach Dan Candeloro was smiling brightly afterward.

“I think we have a lot of work to do,” he said.

The winning score came midway through the third quarter when Joseph Delgado got way behind the Appo defense and hauled in a 51-yard touchdown reception from quarterback James Love, who first handed off to a receiver before getting a soft toss back to fool the defense.

The Riders surrendered a 42-yard scoring pass from Antonio Alverez to John Ngatia just 3 1/2 minutes into the game, and Isabella Scarpinato kicked the extra point for a quick 7-0 lead.

Jackson Rall of Caesar Rodney breaks through the line to stop Appoquinimink’s Jordan Henry for a loss.

The game was stopped for 18 minutes near the end of the first quarter due to lightning, which prompted officials to clear the stadium. The teams returned and the game was again halted after a couple plays for 12 minutes.

Emmanuel Kennedy ran in an eight-yard score with 8:38 left before halftime, but CR still trailed 7-6 when the two-point conversion failed.

CR’s defense was also fueled by, among others, Patrick Jelliffe, Kennedy, Jehion Patten, Jackson Rall, Dashaun Gray, Donovan Barnshaw, Jordan Allen (fourth quarter interception returned 56 yards), and Charles Robinson.

Appo reached the 50-yard line with 27 seconds remaining, but four straight incompletions ended the suspense. Patten broke up the last attempt and the effort was complete.

The Riders play at St. Georges Tech next Saturday.

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