Dover tops rival CR: Senators win 3rd straight in series 24-13

Marquis Guy of Dover goes high to haul in a long pass from quarterback Jordan Moran against CR Friday night. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

CAMDEN — Dover High football players always like to say, they can stand winning just one game all season.

Just as long as that one win came against rival Caesar Rodney.

It may not have been quite as dramatic as that, but the Senators did indeed pick up their first victory of the season by handing the Riders their first loss on Friday night.

Dover forced four fumbles and watched senior fullback Qualeak Bumbrey bull his way for a career-high 152 yards and two touchdowns in the Senators’ 24-13 Henlopen North win over CR.

With the coronavirus pandemic changing around the schedule, it was the first time in recent memory that the rivalry game wasn’t played as the regular-season finale.

Still, the Senators (1-2 North, 1-3) were a pretty happy bunch after winning their third straight in a series they now lead 36-30-4.

Teyvion McCoy of Dover is wrestled to the ground by CR’s Nathan Waite after a short gain.

“I’m really happy for these kids tonight,” said Dover coach Rudy Simonetti. “Backs against the wall, 0-3. … we could have packed it in last week.

“But we didn’t. These kids are really resilient. I’m really proud of them tonight.”

“We went old school Dover High on them,” said Bumbrey, who carried the ball 20 times and also forced a fumble on defense. “It was really emotional because this whole season has been a rollercoaster. Nobody thought we could do it.

“Three out of four years we beat them. It’s just a big rivalry. They’re one heck of a team to beat.”

The Riders (3-1, 4-1) scored on their first and last drives of the contest. But, in between, Dover ran off 24 unanswered points to take control.

The Senators led 10-7 at halftime and then 17-7 after a partially-blocked punt set up a one-yard scoring run by Bumbrey.

But the signature drive of the game came in the fourth quarter when Dover gave the ball to Bumbrey on all seven plays of a 70-yard march. When he finally capped off the drive by scoring on a three-yard run, the Senators owned a 24-7 advantage with just 3:20 remaining in the game.

Brock Connor of the Riders rushes through the middle before being stopped after a 5-yard gain against Dover.

The Riders were able to answer with a quick scoring drive. Deontre Cale pulled in an eight-yard scoring pass from quarterback Tremere Woodlin with 2:04 on the clock. But the Riders failed on a two-point conversion try and the Senators recovered the ensuing onsides kick attempt.

Finally, Bumbrey carried the three more times for 23 yards to run the clock.

“We got ‘The Closer’ there we call him,” said Simonetti. “He’s a bull. He’s a tough, tough kid — one of the toughest I ever coached. I’m really proud and happy for him tonight. He did a great job.”

Both teams scored on their opening drives of the night.

Julian Harris scored on a 14-yard counter to cap off a 12-play, 80-yard scoring march for CR. Dover answered with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Moran to Marquis Guy.

Dover’s Kareem Kaba latches onto Julian Harris of Caesar Rodney after a short gain.

The Senators took the lead for good when Moran booted a 31-yard field goal with 1:46 left before halftime.

Dover had beaten CR by a combined 95-24 in the last two meetings. But the Senators came into the game having scored just 16 points in their first three games with only one offensive touchdown.

“We just found what worked and stuck with it,” said Moran. “Qualeak, he’s a great kid, a hard worker. We did our think tonight.

“It’s a new game every week. Every week we go in with the mindset that we’re going to take the ‘W.’”

Because it wasn’t the last game of the season — as it normally is — both teams still have things they’d like to accomplish.

The Senators can still finish at .500 with two more wins. Dover hosts Polytech on Friday at noon.

The Riders play their last two regular-season games on the road starting with a 1 p.m. contest on Friday at Cape Henlopen. CR can still capture the Henlopen North title with wins over Cape and Smyrna.