CR football team aims to keep building on 2017 success

On offense, the Riders brought back more Wing-T plays last fall and the offense was perfectly suited for Kevin Robinson. The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder ran for 532 yards and four TDs. Delaware State News file photos

CAMDEN — Once he got through the line, there really wasn’t much stopping Kevin Robinson.

It was just him and 93 yards of green turf.

“My wingback gave me a great hole and it was just wide open,” said the Caesar Rodney High fullback. “I just kept running.

“I felt a guy in back of me and I just had to shake him off. There was no way I was going to run that far and not score.”

Robinson did reach the end zone, sprinting 93 yards for the game-clinching touchdown in a 27-6 victory at Cape Henlopen last October.

It was just one play that helped establish the youngster as one of the better players in the Henlopen Conference a year ago.
But now, after the Riders finished 7-4 and reached the DIAA Division I state tournament for the first time since 2013, Robinson and his teammates want to keep building on what they started.

The Riders’ Will Burke (6) makes a tackle last season against Smyrna.

CR has four seniors who made all-Henlopen Northern Division last fall: Robinson (second team), defensive end Will Burke (first team), defensive tackle Jeremiah Brown (first team) and punter Joe Delgado (second team).

Especially with the two defensive linemen, though, coach Dan Candeloro knows they have to work even harder this year after establishing themselves.

“That was the conversation the whole off-season,” said Candeloro, who was named the Henlopen Conference Coach of the Year. “Staying stagnant is not going to be good enough because now they (opponents) know who you are, they see you on film, now they’re going to game-plan some things around you.

“You’re on their radar now. No game is going to be easy. You’re going to draw double teams, you’re going to draw chop blocks.”

At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Burke has also drawn the attention of some Division I colleges as a defensive end. Now he has to convince those college coaches that he deserves a scholarship.

“I’ve got to be more aggressive and just go after the ball on every play,” said Burke. “I know some plays last year I went after the ball but there were a couple plays where I took plays off.”

Burke knows the fact that he’s also going to see time at tight end is going to make this season even more demanding.

“You’ve got to own up to what you do,” he said. “You can’t make any excuses. Being all-conference, it was good, but I’d rather be All-State more than anything.”

Brown, a 6-foot-2, 265-pound senior, also has attracted some college attention. He only transferred to CR from Dover last fall but Candeloro said the newcomer fit right in from the start.

CR’s Kevin Robinson runs for yardage last season. “I do like it a lot,” Robinson said about the Wing-T, which he hadn’t been in since junior high. “Having your guys in front blocking for you, it’s nice. I’d rather run inside than outside.”

“As soon as he walked in the weight room just with his size and presence, the first day he’s like, ‘You can do more than that,’” joked Candeloro.

The two linemen helped lead a CR defense that allowed 14 points or less in six of its last eight contests.

On offense, the Riders brought back more Wing-T plays last fall and the offense was perfectly suited for Robinson. The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder ran for 532 yards and four TDs.

“I do like it a lot,” Robinson said about the Wing-T, which he hadn’t been in since junior high. “Having your guys in front blocking for you, it’s nice. I’d rather run inside than outside.”

The biggest thing Robinson had to work on was hanging on to the ball. He fumbled the ball a handful of times in the first three games but, after some hard work, didn’t turn the ball at over at all in the second half of the season.

“It was definitely frustrating at times but I just had to practice and get it right,” said Robinson. “Hopefully I’m better this year.”

Of course, getting better this season is the plan for all the Riders.

Their taste of success last season only makes them want more.

“We learned how to focus more and be determined on winning,” said Burke, “and just going after it on every play. It was very fun — just going home, knowing that we won.”

CAMDEN — Once he got through the line, there really wasn’t much stopping Kevin Robinson.

It was just him and 93 yards of green turf.

“My wingback gave me a great hole and it was just wide open,” said the Caesar Rodney High fullback. “I just kept running.

“I felt a guy in back of me and I just had to shake him off. There was no way I was going to run that far and not score.”

Robinson did reach the end zone, sprinting 93 yards for the game-clinching touchdown in a 27-6 victory at Cape Henlopen last October.

It was just one play that helped establish the youngster as one of the better players in the Henlopen Conference a year ago.
But now, after the Riders finished 7-4 and reached the DIAA Division I state tournament for the first time since 2013, Robinson and his teammates want to keep building on what they started.

CR has four seniors who made all-Henlopen Northern Division last fall: Robinson (second team), defensive end Will Burke (first team), defensive tackle Jeremiah Brown (first team) and punter Joe Delgado (second team).

Especially with the two defensive linemen, though, coach Dan Candeloro knows they have to work even harder this year after establishing themselves.

“That was the conversation the whole off-season,” said Candeloro, who was named the Henlopen Conference Coach of the Year. “Staying stagnant is not going to be good enough because now they (opponents) know who you are, they see you on film, now they’re going to game-plan some things around you.

“You’re on their radar now. No game is going to be easy. You’re going to draw double teams, you’re going to draw chop blocks.”

At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Burke has also drawn the attention of some Division I colleges as a defensive end. Now he has to convince those college coaches that he deserves a scholarship.

“I’ve got to be more aggressive and just go after the ball on every play,” said Burke. “I know some plays last year I went after the ball but there were a couple plays where I took plays off.”

Burke knows the fact that he’s also going to see time at tight end is going to make this season even more demanding.

“You’ve got to own up to what you do,” he said. “You can’t make any excuses. Being all-conference, it was good, but I’d rather be All-State more than anything.”

Brown, a 6-foot-2, 265-pound senior, also has attracted some college attention. He only transferred to CR from Dover last fall but Candeloro said the newcomer fit right in from the start.

“As soon as he walked in the weight room just with his size and presence, the first day he’s like, ‘You can do more than that,’” joked Candeloro.

The two linemen helped lead a CR defense that allowed 14 points or less in six of its last eight contests.

On offense, the Riders brought back more Wing-T plays last fall and the offense was perfectly suited for Robinson. The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder ran for 532 yards and four TDs.

“I do like it a lot,” Robinson said about the Wing-T, which he hadn’t been in since junior high. “Having your guys in front blocking for you, it’s nice. I’d rather run inside than outside.”

The biggest thing Robinson had to work on was hanging on to the ball. He fumbled the ball a handful of times in the first three games but, after some hard work, didn’t turn the ball at over at all in the second half of the season.

“It was definitely frustrating at times but I just had to practice and get it right,” said Robinson. “Hopefully I’m better this year.”

Of course, getting better this season is the plan for all the Riders.

Their taste of success last season only makes them want more.

“We learned how to focus more and be determined on winning,” said Burke, “and just going after it on every play. It was very fun — just going home, knowing that we won.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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