Riders open with 14-0 shutout win over Sussex Tech

Rider quarterback Tremere Woodlin takes the ball around the right end and was stopped after a gain by Sussex Tech sophomore Jeremyah Handy. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

GEORGETOWN — Between the layer of fog and the bright lights shining in his eyes, Jeremiah McDonald really couldn’t locate the football until the last second.

And when he did, he realized it was an opportunity to make a play.

McDonald, a junior linebacker at Caesar Rodney High, recorded the first interception of his career midway through the third quarter at Sussex Tech. His return set up CR’s second touchdown as the Riders earned a 14-0 Henlopen Conference Northern Division season-opening shutout win on Friday night.

“I didn’t see it coming to me,” McDonald said. “It was crazy. It came right into my hands, bobbling around. It’s awesome.”

It was the first game for both teams after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the start of the high school football season back to late October.

The Riders’ defense was led by McDonald’s interception, Nathan Waite who forced and recovered a fumble, plus sacks from James Ewell and Kevin Hudson.

Trent Sapna (left) of Sussex Tech and CR’s Quaseem LaRue dive after a fumble in the first quarter of Friday night’s game. LaRue made the recovery to maintain possession for the Riders.

“They just grew so much this week,” said CR coach Dan Candeloro. “On Monday, we were scared to death. We didn’t have film on them. But our defense just hung in there. They bent but they didn’t break. The whole defense stepped up.”

Caesar Rodney quarterback Tremere Woodlin rushed for a touchdown and threw for another score.

The Riders stretched their lead from 8-0 to 14-0 a few plays after McDonald’s third-quarter interception. Woodlin lobbed a pass over the head of Sussex Tech defenders to senior wide receiver Deontre Cale who made a leaping catch.

The 14-yard reception was Cale’s first touchdown of his career after missing several games last year due to an injury
“Last year I had the opportunity and I got injured so I’m coming back stronger,” Cale said. “I thank my coaches and my teammates for putting me in this position.”

Woodlin got the scoring started in with 6:18 left in the first quarter on a quarterback keeper. Woodlin brought the Riders down to the one-yard line after a 20-yard rush.

On the first play of the game Sussex Tech defender Travis Nock intercepts a pass intended for CR’s Deontre Cale.

It took four tries from the one, by Woodlin finally scored on a sneak on fourth down. The Riders scored a two-point conversion after a wild snap on an extra point attempt was corralled by holder Zach McClements who then threw to Xavier Mera for the two-pointer.

Sussex Tech was paced by Travis Nock, Trent Sapna and Jeremyah Handy who each had an interception for the Ravens. They also got a fumble recovery from Jaryn Sample.

“Against that team, I didn’t think 14 would be enough,” Candeloro said. “They are battlers. They’ll be something to be reckoned with when they get going.”