Sheppard-Parker leads Golden Knights with 4 TDs in win against Caesar Rodney

Sussex Central’s TyJhir Sheppard-Parker runs for a touchdown on the opening kick off at CR. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

CAMDEN — TyJhir Sheppard-Parker gave everyone in attendance at Caesar Rodney High a sign of what was to come on the very first play.

The Sussex Central High senior returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.

Sheppard-Parker went on to score four touchdowns on the night as the Golden Knights defeated Caesar Rodney 34-21 on Friday night in a Henlopen Conference Northern Division contest. Sussex Central improved to 1-1 in Henlopen North play and 3-1 overall.

Caesar Rodney dropped to 1-1 in the Henlopen North and 1-3 overall.

The Golden Knights led wire-to-wire thanks to Sheppard-Parker who credited the players in front of him for making it happen.

“I had good blocks,” Sheppard-Parker said. “I appreciate them blocking for me because if they weren’t, I wouldn’t have gotten that touchdown. I saw a nice hole open up and I ran through it as fast as I can.”

The Golden Knights were coming off a loss at Smyrna High in their Henlopen North opener last week. That defeat snapped a 14-game winning streak for the 2018 Division I champions.

Sussex Central coach John Wells said he was pleased with how the Golden Knights bounced back from last week’s result, calling Friday night’s contest a “catch game.”

“We played a real emotional game last week and we had some injuries,” Wells said. “I thought if we sat there, ‘Woe is me,’ after a loss to Smyrna where we didn’t play well, they could catch us. We didn’t want this to be a trap game. I was worried about a letdown but they didn’t do that.”

Sheppard-Parker scored the first two touchdowns of the game before Caesar Rodney drew within 14-7 on Manny Kennedy’s two-yard rush with 2:36 left in the quarter.

The Riders then forced a punt and had good field position after a fortunate bounce, starting at Sussex Central’s 34-yard line. But a holding penalty sent Caesar Rodney backward and it eventually turned the ball over on downs.

Sussex Central responded with a nine-play, 65-yard drive which ended with another Sheppard-Parker touchdown, this time from seven yards out. Caesar Rodney would not come withing two scores again.

“We were focused on not losing again,” Sheppard-Parker said. “We didn’t want to let ourselves down. We came out here with a different mindset and we focused.”

Sheppard-Parker’s fourth touchdown was his longest rush of the night as he went 33 yards for the final Sussex Central score of the game with 51 seconds left in the third quarter. It gave the Golden Knights their largest lead at 34-7.

Kennedy added a four-yard rush for Caesar Rodney in the fourth quarter before Brock Conner scored a 91-yard rushing touchdown with 2:31 remaining for the Riders.

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