CR looking to get ball in Kennedy’s hands

Caesar Rodney football players Corey Handy (17) and Manny Kennedy talk with coach Dan Candeloro. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

DOVER — Dan Candeloro was showing some game film to Manny Kennedy the other day.

The Caesar Rodney High football coach was trying to make the point that sometimes fighting for every last yard isn’t the best thing for a running back.

“I was like, ‘Sometimes you’ve just got to go to the ground,’” said Candeloro. “‘Be Franco Harris and get on the ground.’ You hate to tell a kid not to do more. But if you’ve got four or five guys on you and you’re still fighting. it’s OK to step out of bounds or go down.”

Most of the time, though, Candeloro is just fine with the extra effort and determination that Kennedy brings to the field.

The Riders are expecting the senior to get plenty of chances to carry the ball this fall. Kennedy is going to be used both at halfback, like he was last season, or at fullback in CR’s offense.

Graduated Kevin Robinson was a first-team All-Henlopen North pick at fullback last fall.

“He’s a tough, physical runner,” Candeloro said about Kennedy. “He just wants to win — and he wants to win at all costs.

The Riders are expecting senior Manny Kennedy to get plenty of chances to carry the ball this fall. Kennedy is going to be used both at halfback, like he was last season, or at fullback in CR’s offense. Delaware State News file photo

“You’ve got to protect the ball. He learned some valuable lessons watching some film. His speed on the edge is good but he’s a real physical runner.”

Kennedy, who made honorable mention All-North a year ago, says he understand where his coach is coming from. He knows that needlessly fighting for more yards can lead to turnovers.

“It’s going to be hard for me,” Kennedy said with a laugh. “I don’t know, I’m a fighter regardless. But I’m going to fight the right way.

“I saw it on film. I would get a little wild with the ball in my arm.”

Kennedy’s goal is to help lead the Riders back to the DIAA Division I state tournament this season. CR missed it last fall after losing three of its last four games to finish with a record of 5-5

The Riders open the season on Sept. 6 by hosting Appoquinimink at 7 p.m.

As a youngster, Kennedy can remember hearing future New England Patriots’ player Duron Harmon talk about football when they went to the same church.

“He always was talking about what was going on at CR so I always wanted to go here,” said Kennedy.

Manny Kennedy’s goal is to help lead the Riders back to the DIAA Division I state tournament this season. CR missed it last fall after losing three of its last four games to finish with a record of 5-5. Delaware State News file photo

Kennedy attended school in Dover’s Capital School District in fourth grade before returning to CR.

On the other hand, junior receiver Corey Handy hopes the Riders don’t forget about throwing the ball this season. While he’s ready to block for Kennedy, he’d like to make some plays himself.

A year ago, as a sophomore, Handy made the jump from CR’s freshman squad to the varsity.

“I knew coming in that I wasn’t going to get the ball as much as I wanted to,” he said. “But, at the end of the day, you also have to be a team player. … If I can get an opportunity to get the ball, I’m going to make it happen. But, if not, I’m going to agree with the coach and I’m just going to help my running backs out by blocking.”

“He runs great routes,” said Candeloro. “His feet are good, his hands are good. He’s been to a couple camps and they love him. So we’re going to try to get the ball to him.

“He has progressed every year. He’s done all the right things.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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