Everything comes together perfectly for CR homecoming win

CR’s Joshua Windsor is hoisted into the air by teammate Brenden Holder after he intercepted a pass in the 2nd quarter Friday night. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

CAMDEN — This is what homecoming is supposed to feel like at Caesar Rodney High School.

A nice cool autumn night, a spirited pre-game parade, festive halftime activities that were all capped by a dominating 46-7 victory by the Riders over Brandywine in a nonconference football game on Friday night.

The complete team effort, which led Caesar Rodney (5-3) to its third win in a row, was the result of hard work that has been put in by the Riders, says coach Dan Candeloro.

Getting that fifth win helped CR match its total from the last three seasons when it’s gone a combined 5-25.

“It’s been a lot of years coming and these guys have played hard and worked hard,” Candeloro said. “It’s nice to see that. It’s been a long time since we’ve been on the other end of one of them (scores).

CR defenders Jackson Rall (34) and Indavelon Burris (38) stop Brandywine’s Curtis Blain in the backfield for a loss.

“This senior group we have now we saw coming a couple of years ago and we were hoping they would go out like they’re doing now and I’m just happy for them.”

Not only did the Riders score five touchdowns on offense, they also scored twice on the defensive side of the ball to drop Brandywine to 4-4.

Junior defensive tackle Dashaun Gray got the scoring started when he recovered a fumble in the end zone on a Brandywine play that started near midfield before turning into a wild scrum for the football.

The first of four Evan McCleary point-after kicks was good and CR held a 7-0 lead with 4:19 left in the first quarter.

The Riders began to steamroll from there.

They mounted a seven-play, 64-yard drive on their next offensive possession and scored on senior quarterback Jared Wagenhoffer’s 2-yard run. The TD was set up by a short pass from Wagenhoffer to Bailey DeAtley for a 27-yard gain.

CR senior Julian Trammell, who doubles as a running back and a corner back, scored the next two TDs for the Riders at the beginning of the second quarter to propel them to a 28-0 lead.

Rider Bailey DeAtley is brought down from behind on the two yard line after a pass reception in the first quarter. The play set up CR’s second TD.

Following a 40-yard pass from Wagenhoffer to Joseph Delgado, Trammell broke through the right side of the line for a 4-yard TD run that made it 21-0 with 11:25 left in the first half.

Trammell intercepted a pass from senior quarterback Jack Russell on Brandywine’s next offensive series and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown,
bringing the packed homecoming crowd at CR’s stadium to its feet and giving his team a comfortable 28-point margin.

Trammell said he definitely feels a different vibe coming from this year’s Riders.

“We fight in practice every day,” Trammell said. “Coach (Candeloro) emphasizes heart and we’ve just got to push through everything and stay together and (Friday) we came out with a big win on our homecoming night.

“It’s a different mentality this year. Everybody pushes each other, everybody is friends with each other and there’s no arguing and none of that. We’re a good team this year.”

Kevin Robinson of CR bursts through a hole in the line for a big gain in the first quarter.

Sophomore Emmanuel Kennedy scored on a 4-yard run and Kevin Robinson broke into the end zone on a 16-yard scoring jaunt as the Riders took a 40-0 halftime lead.

With the way the Riders’ defense was playing, that turned out to be plenty of points. They held Brandywine to just 71 total yards in the first half, including 14 rushing, and just four first downs.

CR was coming off a 15-0 shutout of Sussex Tech. The Riders have held opponents to 20 points or less in six or its eight games this season.

“Whenever the offense is struggling we’ve got to step it up and really take over,” said junior linebacker Jackson Rall. “I think this is one of our better defensive efforts. I know Brandywine, they’re no team to step over.”

Trammell rushed for 53 yards on five carries and Robinson gained 51 yards on seven carries – all coming in the first half for both backs. Wagenhoffer completed 5 of 8 passes for 88 yards.

“Our special teams came up big, the offense played big, the defense played big, and it was just an all-around effort,” Candeloro said. “We got to see some young kids play which was good and this is a great group.

“I give credit to Brandywine. They worked hard and tried hard and they just couldn’t get any offense going.”

This season suddenly seems light years away from a young CR team that went 1-9 last year. Now, the Riders are above .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2013.

The hard work is paying off, though they did lose the shutout when Brandywine’s Curtis Blain broke loose for a 42-yard TD run with just over seven minutes remaining in the game.

“We were just trying our hardest to get another shutout on the board,” said senior linebacker Josh Windsor. “We’ve really been taking a lot of pride in our defense and this community’s been backing us up and we’re proud of that.

“(Brandywine is) a great team. Last year we were just like them, having a lot of downs, and it seems like if you keep pushing then good things will happen.”

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