High school football: Bumbrey carries Dover on his strong shoulders

Dover’s Marquis Guy protects the ball after coming down with a short pass and fights his way past CR’s Julian Harris for a first half touchdown. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

Most of the yards Qualeak Bumbrey collected on Friday night weren’t pretty ones.

They were tough, up-the-middle, breaking-tackles and pushing-defenders-back kind of yards.

But they all looked pretty good to Dover High football coach Rudy Simonetti.

“He’s an old-school fullback-slash-high school linebacker,” Simonetti said proudly.

Bumbrey’s big night was one of the big reasons the Senators downed rival Caesar Rodney, 24-13, on Friday night for their first win of the season.

The 5-foot-11, 225-pounder ran for a career-high 152 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 20 carries.

He carried the ball on Dover’s final 10 offensive plays, picking up 93 yards and a touchdown in that stretch to help put away the victory. Bumbrey also had two catches for 37 yards in the game.

Bumbrey was pretty good from his spot at linebacker, too. He forced one of the Riders’ four fumbles on a particularly hard hit in the backfield.

“He was all over the place on defense tonight,” said Simonetti. “He caused some confusion back there when he blitzed and caused that fumble. I’m really proud of him. He’s endured a lot over these past four years.”

“He beat us on both sides of the ball,” said CR coach Dan Candeloro. “We watched him on film. We knew he was going to be tough to bring down. … Bumbrey just took it into his hands, it seemed like.”

Thinking of Page

There was, of course, plenty of blue and gold and white in the stadium for Friday’s CR-Dover game.

But there was also some orange sprinkled in.

Along with fans, a number of CR players and cheerleaders wore orange wristbands while Candeloro wore an orange sweatshirt.

The orange was to support CR student-athlete Brian Page, who suffered a serious back injury while playing ice hockey outside Philadelphia last week. A Go Fund Me page started for Page said that doctors don’t know if the teenager will be able to walk again.

Page played lacrosse for the Riders but not football. For the coin toss of Friday’s game, CR’s captains carried a No. 87 jersey — Page’s number with the Little Flyers.

Candeloro said Page’s injury is a reminder that there are a lot more important things in life than sports.

“When it hits a teenager like that, who’s well-liked and everybody in school knows him, it just kind of ripples through,” said Candeloro. “Your heart goes out to the family. The whole community just kind of banded together, which is awesome.

“It just hits home when it’s a 16-to-18 year-old kid that has his whole life ahead of him. In one instant, everything changes.”

As of Saturday morning, the Go Fund Me page had raised over $260,000 to help offset Page’s medical bills.

No Harvest Bowl yet

Both Smyrna and Middletown had their games canceled this week because of COVID-19 issues at other schools.

That had some people suggesting that the two Harvest Bowl rivals should have played each other instead.

But Eagles’ coach Mike Judy said switching opponents in mid-week would be too difficult for a high school football team.

“You can’t just turn around and play a game tomorrow,” said Judy. “The amount of preparation that goes into a football game, it’s literally spaced out over a week.

“Put it this way. We will play Middletown anytime on any date. But it’s going to be our only game that week. They weren’t sprinting down here to get us scheduled, either, because football programs can’t do that realistically. All the coaches will tell you the same thing.”

Of course, there’s still a chance that Smyrna and Middletown could end up playing in the DIAA Division I state tournament.

Six football games in Delaware were canceled due to COVID-19 reasons this weekend. It’s left most teams feeling that no upcoming games are guaranteed.

“I really thought like, ‘Man, there’s a chance we could get through the season unscathed,’ and play what you’re supposed to play,” said Judy. “But that’s wishful thinking. There’s just so many variables and things that are in your control or out of your control.”

More Dover-CR

Dover quarterback Jordan Moran had an especially busy night on Friday.

The junior threw the ball 15 times for 81 yards and a touchdown, ran it four times for 16 yards, kicked three PATs, attempted three field goals (making one), kicked off four times and punted twice.

All three of Moran’s field-goal attempts (31 yards, 44, 26) were long enough — two of them just went wide.

“I was just pulling them left,” said Moran. “I’ll go back and work on that in practice this week and make sure I don’t do that again.”

CR seniors Teron Wayman and Deontre Cale both had interceptions inside the five yard line to end Senator scoring threats on Friday. Brock Conner was the Riders’ leading rusher with 75 yards on 14 carries.

For Dover, Julien Bumbrey, Kareem Kaba, Julius Bumbrey and Byron Evans all recovered fumbles.

Candeloro said he knew Dover was going to be difficult to beat. The Senators were 0-3, in part, because they started their schedule against three difficult opponents.

With two big Henlopen North contests remaining, Candeloro said now he’ll see what the Riders are made of.

“We’re kind of banged up a little bit but we’re going to put some ice on it and get back to work on Monday,” he said. “Our hopes and dreams are still alive. ,,, It’s not going to be easy. We’ve got to go to work.”

Extra points

CR honored longtime assistant coach Brian Berns before Friday’s game. The 61-year-old is in his 40th season coaching with the Riders. … Sussex Central now hasn’t allowed a point in eight straight quarters. On Friday night, the Golden Knights host Salesianum, which has scored a total of 71 points in its last two games. … The cancellation of the Milford-Lake Forest game means there won’t be Thanksgiving football downstate. But there will be two afternoon games on Friday: Dover hosts Polytech at noon with Cape Henlopen hosting CR at 1 p.m.