Warren leads Dover to 24-16 win over rival CR

 

CAMDEN — As soon as Jerry Warren broke through the line, he could see he had a chance to take it all the way.

“After that cut I made, I knew I was gone,” said the Dover High running back. “I saw all that green grass.”

A few moments later, Warren was sprinting into the end zone after completing an 85-yard touchdown run.

That big play turned out to be perhaps the biggest of the night as the Senators finished of their football season with a satisfying 24-16 victory over rival Caesar Rodney on a windy Friday night.

Warren’s second TD run of the contest came with 1:47 left in the third quarter — less than a minute after the Riders had cut Dover’s lead to a single point — and accounted for the final margin.

The touchdown was the highlight of the night for Warren, who finished with 136 yards and the two TDs on 15 carries as the Senators (2-4 Henlopen North, 4-6 overall) beat CR (1-5 North, 2-8 overall) for the second straight year.

Warren’s big night probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The junior running back had transferred from Caesar Rodney after last season because of a situation with his family.

Dover was playing without standout quarterback Triston Harris, who dislocated his shoulder a week ago.

“When you have things like injuries, kids have to step up,” said Senators coach Dante Jones. “He (Warren) stepped up. He told me before the game, he said ‘Coach, I’m going to have a big game.’ And he went out here and did it.”

“When I first came out I was a little jittery about it,” Warren said about facing CR. “But, once I stepped on the field, all that went away and I played football.”

On a night when Dover didn’t try to throw the ball very often, replacement QB Mike Williams made a difference with his legs, running for a game-high 153 yards on 20 carries.

But the Senators did find a way to make one big play through the air.

Leading just 10-8 in the closing minute of the first half, Dover gave the ball to receiver Breon Dennis on an apparent reverse. But the senior pulled up and launched a 60-yard scoring pass to Dwight Wilson, who was wide open behind the CR secondary.

The touchdown, with just 8.9 seconds left in the half, gave the Senators a more-comfortable 17-8 advantage at intermission.

“I saw him wide open and I had to hit it,” said Dennis.

“You expect things to work but it just happened perfectly,” said Jones. “When I saw Dwight come open, I was just hoping he didn’t overthrow him. He threw a perfect strike.”

Senior kicker Jordan Hutchins also made a pair of key plays for the Senators. First he ran 19 yards on a fake punt to set up an 11-yard TD run from Warren in the first quarter.

Then Hutchins kicked a 30-yard field goal to put the Senators ahead, 10-0, in the second quarter.

A year after getting blanked by the Senators, 30-0, the Riders had their chances right until the end this time.

Late in the second quarter, a 62-yard kickoff return by Nhaighere Wills set up CR at the Dover 18. Six plays later, senior fullback Mike Clavier scored on a one-yard run.

Brian Lewis’ two-point conversion catch on a pass from Jared Wagenhoffer pulled the Senators within 10-8.

In the third quarter, Clavier capped off a 10-play, 86-yard scoring drive with a three-yard TD run. The senior finished with 95 yards on 15 carries.

This time Jordan Walters scored the two-point conversion that got CR within 17-16.

The Riders had one last drive in the closing minutes, getting as far as the Dover 35. But a fourth-down incompletion sealed the victory for the Senators.

The game was part of the Great American Rivalry Series, a promotion sponsored by the U.S. Marines.

After the game, Dover’s players got to celebrate like champions. The team got one trophy, Warren got another as the game MVP while all the players were given caps and posed for photos.

It wasn’t the state championship trophy they dreamed of winning when the season started. But, all things considered, they’ll take it.

“It feels good to let the seniors go out with a win,” said Warren. “It sets the tone for next year.”

“You’re only as good as your last game,” said Jones. “It’s always good to finish the season off with a win. It’s not the season we wanted to have but we got to send the seniors out on a high note. That was most important.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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