CR repeats as Henlopen boys’ soccer champ

Members of the Caesar Rodney soccer team pose with the trophy following their second straight Henlopen Conference title win. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

FREDERICA — Led by a pair of goals from junior forward Lyod Coutilien, Caesar Rodney High grabbed its second consecutive Henlopen Conference title with a 4-0 shutout of Indian River High at DE Turf Sports Complex Saturday night.

“I have no words, to be honest,” Coutilien said. “It really feels great to get the win. It’s been a pleasure just to be here.”

“This means that we’re the best of the 15 teams in the Henlopen Conference. That’s a lot of teams, and just to be in this game – only two teams get to play in it – it’s an honor and a privilege,” said CR coach Darrell Gravatt.

The shutout title win came just a little over a month after the Riders dropped a 4-2 match-up to the same Indian River team.

CR’s Chikezie Ikwuagwu tries outrunning IR’s Jhony Ortiz.

“It was a humbling experience for us. It was a learning experience and we definitely gained some knowledge,” Gravatt said of the early-season loss.

“It feels good to get revenge,” said senior forward Braden Phillips. “I didn’t play one half of the first IR game, so it felt good to come back and finish strong.”

“We didn’t have the pieces together correctly and we made some changes and it helped us,” said Gravatt. “We knew, going through that, it was going to be a learning process and we would come out a stronger team.”

Caesar Rodney is riding a nine-game win streak heading into next week’s DIAA Division I state tournament, with the No. 3 seeded Riders taking on No. 6 Delcastle Saturday, Nov. 10 at Smyrna High.

“These guys have been great and we’re really rolling right now – that’s nine straight for us,” said Gravatt. “We’re led by four great captains – Chikezie Ikwuagwu, Jake Stant, our keeper Dillon Rahe and Zach Davis.”

The Riders’ Monroe Hite battles with IR’s Juan Linares for possession of the ball.

The Riders outshot the Indians 13-6 and controlled the pace of the game offensively.

Junior forward Spencer Ott took just one of those 12 shots, but his lone attempt hit the back of the net in the 14th minute of the game to put the Riders ahead 1-0.

Braden Phillips extended the lead with a goal in the 27th minute, putting the Riders ahead 2-0 heading into the halftime break.

“It was just being in the right place at the right time,” Phillips explained. “The center back lifted the ball and I was there to finish it.”

With a two-goal cushion, Coutilien netted a pair of goals in the second half to cement the title victory.

His first goal, just two minutes into the half, was assisted by Ikwuagwu and put the Riders ahead 3-0.

Coutilien’s second goal of the night, in the 57th minute, was a header off a corner kick attempt by Jake Stant.

“I saw the keeper on the other side of the goal, so I tried to hit it to the near post,” he explained. “It flicked off my head and it hit off another guy and went in. It felt amazing.”

Caesar Rodney goalkeeper Dillon Rahe made four saves on IR’s six shot attempts to earn the team’s eighth shutout of the season.

“He played outstanding,” said Gravatt. “Great off his line, and he made a high-hand, diving save at the end. He’s just outstanding and we feel very confident with Dillon Rahe in goal.”

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