Middletown too much for Riders in Candeloro’s coaching debut

CAMDEN — If Caesar Rodney High was going to have a chance at hanging with Middletown, it had to keep the Cavaliers from getting off to a fast start.

But that plan went out the window less than two minutes into the game when Middletown’s Ernest Washington scooped up a punt and raced 50 yards for a touchdown.

“We were chasing the whole game,” said CR coach Dan Candeloro. “And they’re not a team you want to be chasing.”

Indeed, the Cavs never let the Riders catch up, eventually pulling away to a decisive 35-0 victory Friday on the opening night of the high school football season.

The loss spoiled the debut of new head coach Candeloro, the former Delaware State standout who was a CR assistant coach for the past 15 years.

Middletown opened up a 28-0 halftime lead before sending the contest to a running clock by scoring on its first possession of the second half. The Cavs have now won five straight over CR since 2012.

With the Riders coming off an uncharacteristic 2-8 season, all Candeloro could do was chalk the game up to experience. CR has now lost five games in a row.

“They played hard,” Candeloro said about the Riders. “It was a situation where we’ve got to block and tackle. That’s the whole game. They lined up where we wanted them, we’ve just got to execute.

“It’s just a learning experience. We’ve got to grow from here. It’s just week one, we’ve got nine more.”

CR’s defense did make three stops in the first half. but Middletown took advantage of some great field position to reel off 21 points in the second quarter.

A 25-yard punt return from Washington set up the Cavs at the CR 14 on one scoring drive. The Riders then muffed a punt at their own 12 yard line with 20.4 seconds left before halftime.

Middletown quarterback Vincent Delpercio then scrambled in for the TD on a 12-yard run with just 1.8 seconds left before halftime.

Delpercio also threw a 21-yard scoring pass to Anthony Delpercio and completed four straight passes for 76 yards on the Cavs’ third-quarter scoring drive. For the game, Delpercio completed 7-of-15 passes for 133 yards.

CR, which has gone away from its traditional Wing-T offense, managed only 75 totals yards and four first downs in the contest. The Riders played senior quarterback Brian Lewis in the first half and sophomore Jared Wagenhoffer in the second half.

Junior Sequann Daniels turned in two of CR’s biggest plays of the night. He returned a first-half kickoff 54 yards while later intercepting a Middletown pass in the end zone.
Things don’t get any easier for CR, which hosts Salesianum next Friday night.

“They know that,” Candeloro said about his players. “It (playing good teams) is only going to make us better in weeks five, six, seven and eight. We’ll line up, compete against the best and see where we’re at.”

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