Riders fall a foot short, lose 25-21 to Caravel

BEAR — Seven yards stood between Caesar Rodney High and its first victory of the football season.

The Riders got six, but were turned away right before the seventh.

Caravel Academy’s goal-line stand on the final play of the game helped the Buccaneers defeat Caesar Rodney 25-21 on Friday night in a nonconference matchup. The Riders fell to 0-2.

The Riders were on the Caravel 7-yard line with nine seconds remaining and turned to senior fullback Manny Kennedy. Kennedy took the handoff and plowed up the gut, where one of his legs was wrapped up by a Caravel defender.

Kennedy kept going forward and reached the ball out as he was falling down. He was ruled down between the 1 and the goal-line. There were still four seconds on the clock, but the Riders had no timeouts left and were unable to run another play.

“We wanted to get the ball to him and he got down to the one-foot line,” said CR coach Danny Candeloro. “What more can you ask? We had to get seven and we got six and two-thirds. He’s a hard runner and a good kid and ran well tonight. I’m proud of the kids. They played a great game. It was a great high school football game.”

Caravel looked to have won this game a couple of minutes earlier before the Riders mounted a late challenge.

The Buccaneers scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:44 remaining. The Buccaneers converted on fourth-and-five thanks to a 33-yard touchdown pass by Jakob Hoffman to Jermaine Earl.

Caesar Rodney got the ball back with two timeouts at its own 41 after the kick return.

The Riders soon were facing fourth-and-10 at the Caravel 49. CR quarterback Tremere Woodlin kept the drive alive when he scrambled and found Anthony Rivera who weaved his way in and out of traffic for the 10 yards.

After a five-yard facemask penalty, Woodlin connected with tight end John Devonish for 21 yards. Kennedy then rushed for 11 yards to bring the Riders down to the Caravel 2-yard line.

Caesar Rodney was backed up after the Buccaneers broke a run play up in the backfield. It sent the Riders back to the 7 and forced them to call their last timeout.

That’s when they fell one yard short and ran out of time.

“That one hurts,” Candeloro said. “It definitely hurts. Credit to Caravel, they came ready to play.”

Caesar Rodney played from behind most of the night but never trailed by more than a touchdown.

The Riders took their only lead of the game when Kendall Smith scored on a 14-yard rushing touchdown and Kennedy converted a two-point conversion for a 21-19 advantage with 5:51 left. It was the second rushing touchdown of the day for Smith, who also recorded an interception.

Rivera recorded the other score for Caesar Rodney from three yards out with 15 seconds left in the second quarter. It tied the game 7-7 at halftime.

Ethan Potter paced Caravel with a 24-yard rushing touchdown and a 91-yard kick return for a score in the second half.

Candeloro did say he thought the Riders improved from their season opener, when they lost 35-7 to Appoquinimink after giving up 28 unanswered points.

“I think there was growth between last week and this week,” Candeloro said. “We had less penalties and we didn’t put the ball on the ground as much. We had some good things going on. I think our line took a step forward and our running backs ran really hard. We threw the ball a little bit and had some success with that.”

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