Rider defense shines in 34-7 Homecoming rout of Milford

Kendall Smith of CR scampers into the end zone and gets the TD signal from the sideline to put the Riders on the board 6-0 in the first quarter. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

CAMDEN — A week after allowing 40 points, the Caesar Rodney High defense buckled down for its Homecoming crowd.

The Rider defense held Milford High to one touchdown as Caesar Rodney earned a 34-7 victory in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division matchup on Friday night. It snapped a two-game losing streak for the Riders (2-1 Henlopen North, 2-4 overall), who fell 40-0 at Middletown High a week prior.

“We never give up,” said senior defensive lineman Matthew Obiagu. “We keep on fighting. We’re still here. We’re not going anywhere. Somebody had to step up and we all stepped up.”

Obiagu forced two fumbles on the night. He also added three sacks.

Cordero Smith played a part in three different turnovers for the Rider defense. He recovered a pair of fumbles and also intercepted a pass.

Kendall Smith is congratulated by his Rider teammates after scoring the first TD of the game against Milford.

“It’s a great win and a great feeling,” Smith said. “After the tough losses we’ve been facing. I like how we didn’t keep our heads down. This is a great win.”

Junior quarterback Tremere Woodlin paced the Caesar Rodney offense with three touchdowns. He provided the highlight of the night for the offense with a 54-yard bomb over the middle to Corey Handy.

“I just trusted in my line that I would be able to step up in the pocket and deliver a great ball,” Woodlin said. “I trusted that my wide receiver was going to get to it.”

Handy’s touchdown came just a few plays after the Riders forced their first turnover of the night.

Milford was at the Caesar Rodney 16-yard line when CR defensive lineman Kevin Hudson knocked the ball loose in the backfield. Smith pounced on the fumble and returned it 17 yards.

It was the first of two fumble recoveries for Smith. He helped seal it with an interception in the fourth quarter which he returned for a touchdown, but the play was called back due to an illegal block in the back.

Emmanuel Kennedy of Caesar Rodney takes a handoff and looks for a way around Milford defender Riddky Mercado-Diaz.

The Rider offense began the contest with a pair of three-and-outs on offense but they were able to get on the board on their third drive. The drive lasted 11 plays and covered 71 yards.

Kendall Smith finished it off with a nine-yard rushing touchdown for a 7-0 lead. The Riders went for two on Handy’s score and Manny Kennedy’s run was successful, allowing CR to take a 15-0 advantage into halftime.

Woodlin added a pair of rushing touchdowns in the second half. The first was from three yards out and he scored the final touchdown of the night with a 21-yard keeper with 4:00 remaining.

Milford’s lone touchdown was a 61-yard pass from Shawn Saxon to Marquis Gillis which made it a 21-7 game in the third quarter. Milford had a chance to pull within a touchdown in the fourth quarter but Obiagu stripped the ball in the backfield and CR’s Sean Wooleyhand fell on it.

Milford’s Jabraih Luke is stopped at the line of scrimmage by CR’s Ira Farrow.

Kennedy would score on a four-yard rush for Caesar Rodney with 6:50 left.

Caesar Rodney coach Dan Candeloro credited the Homecoming crowd for giving a little extra boost to his team.

“The excitement was there, the stands were packed and the community is behind us,” Candeloro said. “These guys are fighters. They’ve been practicing hard all week. We’re proud of them.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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