MIDDLETOWN — Dan Candeloro knew St. Georges had some pretty big linemen.
The Caesar Rodney High football coach said you could see it on film.
But Candeloro was even more impressed when he saw the Hawks up close.
“When we were waiting by the locker room, I was like, ‘Man, they’re a little bigger than I thought they were,’” he said. “Without seeing them live, in a game, it’s a little different.”
Unfortunately for the Riders, St. Georges used that large line to dominate both sides of the ball in a decisive 45-14 victory over CR in a non-conference game on Saturday afternoon.
It was a rough first half for CR (0-2) as the Hawks (1-0) reeled off six touchdowns on seven possessions to open up a gaping 42-0 advantage by halftime.
St. Georges pilled up 361 yards of offense to just 37 for the Riders in the opening two quarters. The Hawks had 16 first downs to just one for the Riders.
And, to top it off, after turning the ball over six times in a season-opening loss to Appoquinimink, CR fumbled the ball away four times in the first half on Saturday.
“Another week, another too many mistakes,” said Candeloro. “I thought we had a good week of practice. We had an extra day to prepare.
“I thought we were prepared but obviously we missed the boat on a few things. But they’re good. I’m not taking anything away from them.”
St. Georges quarterback Donovan Brooks tossed four first-half TD passes, completing 7-of-9 passes for 180 yards with an interception. The junior also ran for 53 yards on four carries, with a 35-yard scoring run.
One of the only first-half highlights for the Riders was an interception by Nate Waite on a ball tipped up by Julien Harris.
Things were a little more competitive in the second half when St. Georges started playing its reserves.
Harris (seven carries-51 yards) scored CR’s first touchdown on a 36-yard breakaway run in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Aiden Cain pulled in a 24-yard scoring pass from freshman QB J.T. Timmons.
The good news for the Riders is that they’re guaranteed of making the DIAA state tournament in the new Class 3A this fall. But the bad news is that there’s no guaranteed wins on the schedule, either.
CR hosts Appoquinimink next Friday night.
“We’ve got to stay together,” said Candeloro. “We’ve got a long season. We want to be playing our best ball at the end when we’re in the playoffs.
“We’re still seeking and finding guys. We’re young. We graduated eight or nine on each side of the ball. We’re still growing. We’re playing young kids. We’re all right. We’ve just got to weather the storm until we get some experience under our belt and then we’ll be OK.
“They’re a good bunch of kids,” he added. “They’re together, they’re working hard. It’ll work out.”
Senior Clay Friend, CR’s second-string quarterback and a starting safety, is temporarily sidelined with an ankle injury. ... CR completed just 1-of-5 passes for 24 yards. ... St. Georges had two players ejected in the second half for unsportsmanlike conduct.