Riders romp 19-6 over Middletown in boys lacrosse tournament opener

Caesar Rodney’s Zachary Davis trying to maneuver around Middletown midfielder Nick Davis in the first quarter. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

MIDDLETOWN — Nineteen goals is pretty nice for a lacrosse team.

But to see 15 of those 19 goals due to assists, that’s even better.

That’s what the Caesar Rodney High boys did in a 19-6 victory at Middletown High in the opening round of the DIAA state tournament on Tuesday night. Senior Zach Davis led the Riders with a game-high six assists.

“We’re an unselfish team,” Davis said. “It’s not one guy hogging the ball. It’s really just the bonds that we formed throughout the whole year.”

The 10th-seeded Riders advanced to play No. 2 Tatnall in the second round. The game will be at Tatnall on Saturday at a time to be determined.

Seven different players scored for Caesar Rodney (11-5) on Tuesday.

Ryan Carey of Caesar Rodney scores a first-quarter goal against Middletown Tuesday night.

Sophomore Brian Page paced the Riders with six goals, including four-straight to begin the second half. Junior Jimmy Cava followed with four goals.

“We move the ball really well,” Page said. “We run a creative offense with a lot of flow.”

Junior Sean Wooleyhand and sophomore Ryan Carey each recorded a hat trick before halftime. Davis, Tyler Morris and Evan McCleary each scored once for Caesar Rodney.

Wooleyhand and Morris dished out three assists apiece. Cava contributed a pair of assists while Page had one.

Davis recorded five of his six assists in the first half as the Riders built a 11-3 advantage at the break.

Caesar Rodney’s James Cava trying to fight his way past Nickolas Davis of Middletown.

“I always trust my teammates,” Davis said. “When I dodge, I always got my head up looking for one more pass. I trust my teammates and they like to put the ball in the back of the net which makes me feel good.”

“Bubba Johnson, our offensive coordinator, does a great job putting in schemes for our guys to find open looks,” said first-year CR coach Brooks Johnson. “We really played unselfish, disciplined lacrosse.”

Middletown did lead 1-0 and kept the Riders scoreless for the first five minutes. But after a timeout, the Riders netted back-to-back goals in less than a minute thanks to Wooleyhand and Carey.

Carey’s goal with 4:14 left in the first quarter gave Caesar Rodney the lead for good as it sparked a 13-2 run.

“I feel like we got the jitters out of the way when we starting putting a couple up to give the team some breathing room,” Page said. “We just stuck it out until the end.”

While Caesar Rodney is traditionally a tournament team, this squad is made up of mostly underclassmen who were getting their first taste of postseason action. The Riders only have seven seniors on the varsity roster.

So Johnson was pleased his youngsters weren’t phased by the bigger stage.

“Starting some brand new guys who have never been on a varsity field before (this season), I think they did a great job,” Johnson said. “We started a little slow but once we got rolling it was nice to see. It was a good game.”

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