CR edges Cape 6-5 to win Henlopen North boys lacrosse title

LEWES — Again and again, Cape Henlopen High’s players moved the ball around, searching for an opening.

Each time, Caesar Rodney’s defenders stayed with the Vikings, forcing them to keep looking.

Finally, with just a few seconds left, Cape got off a shot from in front. The ball was knocked down, though, never reaching the goal.

Then, just as the Vikings picked up the loose ball, the final horn sounded.

Nothing else mattered.

CR’s players came sprinting off the bench to swarm goalie Tyler Gross and celebrate their hard-earned 6-5 victory over Cape in their annual boys’ lacrosse showdown on Wednesday night.

Cape’s Tim Kelley puts a block on Jared Wagenoffer of Caesar Rodney Wednesday night in Lewes. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

The Riders piled on top of each other like they had just won a championship — which they had. The win gave CR (6-0 North, 10-2 overall) its first Henlopen Conference Northern Division crown since 2013.

Cape (4-1 North, 8-2) started its last possession with 20 seconds remaining.

“It felt like three seconds — it went by so fast,” said Gross, a senior, who made 13 saves. “I couldn’t really see anything. Everybody was in front of the cage. I knew everybody else had my back. Luckily I didn’t really have to see a shot.

“I saw the kid pick it (the rebound) up. He kind of turned around and looked at the scoreboard. At that point I knew it was over. We’re North champs. It feels great. Year four — it was our last shot.”

CR midfielder Jared Wagenhoffer trying to advance the ball past Brooks Buck of Cape Henlopen in the first half. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

The Vikings did put the loose ball in the goal but not until after the horn had sounded.

“I was watching the clock,” said CR coach Matt Faircloth, “At five seconds it seemed like about 25 seconds. It took a while. I heard the buzzer and I saw that net move and I saw the referees run off. I knew we had it.”

It was a typically tightly-played contest between the only two Henlopen Conference programs that have won state titles in boys’ lacrosse.

Rider goalie Tyler Gross looks to block shot by Jacob Brown of Cape Henlopen in the first half. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

Wednesday’s game was the fourth one-goal decision in the last eight meetings. Just two of those eight contests have been decided by more than three goals.

The Riders never trailed in the game. But the Vikings rallied from deficits of 2-0 and 5-2 to tie the score at 2-2 and 5-5.

CR made the last goal count, though.

With just under two minutes remaining, junior attack Joshua Cosden fought through a Cape defender, driving to his left before bouncing a shot past the Viking goalie. The goal came with only 1:45 left and gave the Riders their 6-5 advantage.

“On the initial dodge, I just kind of put my shoulder into him,” said Cosden. “I saw him stumble back. I knew that was the moment that I was able to go right toward the goal and get a better angle.

Tim Kelley of Cape trying to slow down CR’s Noah Longest. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

“I knew I took a good shot, I knew I had a good dodge. You just hope that goes in. It was probably one of the best feelings I’ve had.”

Cosden finished with two goals for the Riders. Four other players scored for CR, including Jacob Copio (2 assists), Jared Wagenhoffer, Demetrius Stevenson and Jake Pangle.

The six-goal total was actually a season low for the Riders, who finished with a 26-21 edge in shots.

Cape answered with two goals each from Luke D’Ambrogi and Jaycob Trimmer with one from Patrick Monigle. D’Ambrogi’s second goal, off an assist from Ethan Ghabra, tied the score at 5-5 with 6:26 remaining.

Goalie Brendan Kane made seven saves.

The North title puts CR in the Henlopen Conference championship game at a date and site TBA. First, though, the Riders still face a rugged finish to their regular season with games at Appoquinimink, Tower Hill and Salesianum.

James Holmes of Caesar Rodney reaches in trying to block pass by Cape’s Brock Maloomian. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

“It’s just one game,” said Faircloth. “That loss (to Archmere on Friday) definitely stung. But they came back and really showed that they were committed to finishing the season off right.

“We talked about being in a fight,” he added. “You’re going to get punched, you’ve got to be able to answer back. I was very proud of them. They definitely worked for it, for sure.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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