CR explodes early, defeats Polytech 32-6 for first win

Caesar Rodney’s Emmanuel Kennedy rushes against Polytech during Friday night’s football game in Camden. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

CAMDEN — Caesar Rodney High’s football team couldn’t really have come any closer to its first win a week ago.

But this time, the Riders didn’t leave anything to chance.

CR tallied 26-first half points en route to a 32-6 victory over Polytech in its Henlopen Conference Northern Division opener on Friday night.

Five different players scored touchdowns for the Riders (1-2), who snapped a four-game losing streak dating back to last season.

Last week, CR fell to Caravel, 25-21, when fullback Manny Kennedy was stopped just a few feet short of the goal line on the final play of the contest.

“It definitely took me the whole weekend (to get over the loss),” said Kennedy. “But Monday we had to start over. Some of these guys don’t know what it feels like (to win), especially on varsity yet. So it’s good — very good.”

Riders quarterback Tremere Woodlin throws a TD pass in the first quarter against Polytech.

“The kids were excited,” said CR coach Dan Candeloro. “The monkey’s off their back now. There were two hard-fought games early.

“Poly’s young but, I tell you, they hung around. They worked hard and played hard. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But we spread the ball around and we got to do some things we need to work on in a game.”

Polytech (1-2) is in its first season under head coach Robert Mason, a former CR assistant.

Trailing 12-0 in the first quarter, the Panthers got back into the game on a trick play. On a third-and-eight, halfback Collin Jaksch pulled up and threw a 38-yard scoring pass to a wide-open Trent Jaksch that pulled the Panthers within 12-6.

But CR was just getting started. A 13-yard TD run by Kennedy followed by a 54-yard scoring pass from QB Tremere Woodlin (3-for-5, 81 yards) to Corey Handy pushed the Riders’ advantage to 26-6 by halftime.

Kennedy finished with 159 yards on 17 carries. Woodlin and Handy have connected on a couple long TD passes this season.

“Handy has good hands, he’s fast and he runs great routes.” said Candeloro. “We’re pretty excited to have him. Now we’ve got to spread it around a little. We can’t be one dimensional going down the field.”

The Riders scored touchdowns on their first four possessions, out-gaining the Panthers, 268 yards to 69 in the first half.
CR tacked on a third-quarter touchdown when Kendall Smith swept in from 28 yards out.

The Riders didn’t punt for the first time in the game until early in the fourth quarter.

The Riders’ Anthony Rivera rushes for a first-quarter touchdown against Polytech.

CR opened the contest with a seven-play, 71-yard scoring drive. It was capped off by a 15-yard sweep from Anthony Rivera, who dove to the goal line at the end.

CR had to go only 47 yards on its second drive. This time Woodlin rolled out and found tight end John Devonish for a 28-yard scoring pass that stretched the Riders’ lead to 12-0.

“Our backs, they’re fast,” said Candeloro. “So if we can get to the perimeter, we’re OK. And then Manny, inside, he can pound the rock. We’ve been excited about it and the line is coming together now.”

The schedule only gets more difficult next Friday for the Riders, though, as they host defending Division I state champion Sussex Central.

“There’s no time to rest,” said Candeloro. “We’ve had some great battles (with Central) and we’re expecting a dogfight. They’re coming in loaded for bear.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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