Hawks run past Riders in the rain

 

 

CAMDEN — J.D. Maull hasn’t been part of a football game on this field in about two decades.

And the last time he was here, he and his Cape Henlopen High teammates were losing to Caesar Rodney in a game that decided the Henlopen Conference championship.

“I have bad memories of being on this field,” admitted Maull, a 1996 Cape grad.

But, now the head coach at St. Georges Tech, it was a much more satisfied Maull that walked off CR’s field after watching his Hawks post a 34-14 victory over the Riders on a wet Thursday night.

CR defender Dante Walker reaches around running back Warren Henderson of St. Georges Tech and forces a fumble in the first quarter of game played Thursday night. CR recovered the ball for a turnover. (Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh).

CR defender Dante Walker reaches around running back Warren Henderson of St. Georges Tech and forces a fumble in the first quarter of game played Thursday night. CR recovered the ball for a turnover. (Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh).

The nonconference contest was one of a handful of games moved up a day because of the increasingly stormy weather forecast for this weekend. But even Thursday’s game was played in a steady rain.

Not that the bad weather bothered St. Georges (3-1), which won its third game in a row.

Even in good conditions the Hawks don’t throw the ball much — they attempted only 27 passes all last season. On Thursday, St. Georges threw just one pass, bulldozing CR (1-3) for 397 yards on the ground instead.

The Hawks owned a 21-0 lead by halftime before the two teams traded touchdowns in the second half.

“This is what we do,” said Maull, who played quarterback at Cape. “We don’t throw the ball. The weather didn’t change our game plan at all.

“I liked our physicality. We haven’t gotten it to where I like it. But today they showed some St. Georges football. We were very physical today up front.”

“We talked to them about tough, upstate, Wilmington football — that’s what it was,” said CR coach Dan Candeloro. “They came down here ready to play and I think they caught us on our heels a little bit.

“We just couldn’t stop their running game. Their line was low and hard and fast. I told these kids it’s old, Wilmington football. … They didn’t turn the page. They just lined up and played. They’re well-coached and they’re good athletes.”

Junior Gary Brightwell led St. Georges with 189 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Logan Gilbert added 94 yards and a pair of TDs while Warren Henderson also scored twice while finishing with 78 yards on 10 carries.

The Riders forced the Hawks into a punt situation just once in the game — and that was with only 7:16 left in the contest. The Hawks held onto the ball for the first 7:38 of the game before fumbling at the CR two.

Riders linebacker Mike Clavier made the recovery. But St. Georges got the ball right back after a CR three-and-out and Brightwell scored on an 18-yard run.

The Riders ran just 16 offensive plays in the first half as they were outgained 236-(-2) yards in the opening two quarters.

In the second half, however, CR showed considerably more life when Najee Whitted scampered 23 yards on the first play from scrimmage. That sparked a seven-play, 60-yard scoring drive that concluded with quarterback Brian Lewis scoring on a two-yard run.

Lef by Whitted (9 carries-56 yards in the game), the Riders finished with a more-reasonable 129 yards in the second half. They just couldn’t get the ball away from the Hawks.

CR’s other TD came when a high snap on St. Georges’ lone punt attempt gave the Riders the ball at the 30. Four plays later, QB Jared Wagenhoffer hit fellow sophomore Bailey DeAtley with a 10-yard touchdown pass.

Nhaighere Wills added the two-point conversion to pull the Riders within 28-14 with 6:21 remaining. But St. Georges recovered the ensuing onsides kick and put together a 50-yard scoring drive to all but run out the clock.

Things don’t get any easier for the Riders, who open their Henlopen Conference Northern Division schedule next Friday night at defending champion Sussex Tech.

“We’re trying to get better every week,” said Candeloro. “We showed glimpses of it tonight. We just can’t put a full game together.

“The conference is going to push us. They’re all good and they’re all tough and they all want to win.”

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or walter@newszap.com.

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