Caesar Rodney boys' lacrosse team knows it can count on Bennett

By Andy Walter
Posted 5/28/24

CAMDEN — Dylan Bennett had a moment to consider what was at stake.

There were only 4.8 seconds remaining in Saturday’s DIAA boys’ lacrosse state quarterfinals when Tatnall got …

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Caesar Rodney boys' lacrosse team knows it can count on Bennett


CAMDEN — Dylan Bennett had a moment to consider what was at stake.

There were only 4.8 seconds remaining in Saturday’s DIAA boys’ lacrosse state quarterfinals when Tatnall got one final possession.

Caesar Rodney was clinging to a 7-6 lead. It was up to Bennett, the Riders’ goalie, to make sure it stayed that way.

“What was going through my mind was I want to play one more week with my fellas,” he said. “I love playing with these guys. Whatever I’ve got to do to make that happen, I’ll do it.

“I was willing to do whatever it took to make that save.”

The Hornets got off a good, high shot but Bennett deflected it over the goal. The contest ended with the senior scrambling behind the net to gain possession of the ball.

A few moments later, the Riders were all sprinting across the turf to celebrate with their goalie.

“It’s hard to sum it up because there’s a lot of emotions going through that,” said Bennett. “It was a great feeling. When they run over to me, I’m just glad that I did my part to make sure that we won the game. It feels good.”

On Wednesday night, the third-seeded Riders (13-4) will count on Bennett one more time when they travel to No. 2 Cape Henlopen (14-4) for a 6:30 p.m. semifinal matchup.

CR is clearly the underdog. The Vikings have won seven straight in the rivalry.

And Cape Henlopen has won the last six meetings by a combined 108-25.

But, if there’s one thing Bennett has proven this week, is that he’s a tough kid.
He made 21 saves in the win over Tatnall just three days after taking a hard shot to the midsection in a state tournament win over Sanford.

Bennett spent 12 hours in the emergency room before doctors decided he didn’t need surgery.

“He battled back and he came out here today and he won it for us,” senior attack Patrick Craig said about Bennett. “Hats off to him. I’ve been playing with him since we were 10 years old.

“He didn’t want to miss his last home game senior year. Props to him. He’s a warrior.”

CR coach Brooks Johnson said he’s been impressed with Bennett’s grit since he became the Riders’ starting goalie as a sophomore.

Bennett also wrestled for CR through his junior year.

“He’s one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached, bar none,” said Johnson.

As for Tatnall’s last-second shot on Saturday, Johnson said the biggest thing was making sure that Bennett didn’t get screened on the play.

“We had faith in him in that moment and he delivered for us,” said Johnson. “He’s stepped up time and again. He’s done a fantastic job for us.”

The funny thing is that, if things had worked out differently, Bennett might have been scoring goals instead of stopping them.

The 5-foot-6 senior played attack until he got to high school.

“I just wanted to try something new,” said Bennett. “I was at that point in my lacrosse career (where) I wasn’t having a whole lot of fun. I switched positions and now I’m loving it.

“I love the feeling of taking away somebody’s goal.”

Against Tatnall, Bennett got one more chance to help his teammates get to play another game. That’s why he was out there, despite dealing with some pain.

“These guys mean so much to me,” said Bennett. “I can’t let them down. So if that means I’ve got to put myself on the line to make sure they win a game, I’m willing to do so no matter what.”

Extra points

• Top-seeded Salesianum hosts No. 5 Archmere at 6 p.m. in today’s other semifinal. The championship game is slated for Saturday at 3 p.m. at Delaware Military.

• Sallies has won the last three state titles and 12 of the last of the last 16 championships.

• The last 17 state finals have included either Sallies or Cape Henlopen. In eight of those championship games — including the last four — the Vikings and Sals have faced each other eight times.

• The last title game that didn’t include either Cape or Sallies was the 2005 matchup in which Tower Hill beat CR, 10-7.

• Cape Henlopen is in the state semifinals for the seventh straight season.

• The Riders are trying to reach the state finals for the eighth time in their history.

• The Sals, coached by former Dover coaches Bob Healy and Shawn Plews, are 39-0 against Delaware schools since losing to Cape, 12-10, in the 2019 state title game. Fourteen of those 39 games have been in the state tournament.

• Sallies is ranked No. 6 in the country by USA Lacrosse.

• Cape Henlopen and CR both had eight players named All-Henlopen North with four first-team picks for the Vikings.

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