Game of the Week
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Photo: Cape coach Brian Donahue saw his team's two-year Henlopen North title run end with a 34-6 loss to Caesar Rodney on Nov. 5 but said he is proud of the school's seven-year string of winning seasons.
LEWES -- Sometimes you have to do more than dominate the line of scrimmage. Sometimes you need some big plays, too.
That was the difficult pill the Cape Henlopen High School football team had to swallow after a 34-6 loss to visiting Caesar Rodney, the state's top-ranked team, on Friday, Nov. 5, 1999.
The loss ended Cape's two-year reign as Henlopen Conference Northern Division champions as the Vikings fell to 2-2 in the division and 6-3 overall.
CR is 4-0 in the North and 8-0 overall heading into its Nov. 12 showdown at fourth-ranked Sussex Central, which is unbeaten at 5-0 in the North and 8-0 overall after its 48-24 win over Sussex Tech on Nov. 5.
Sussex Central defeated Cape 9-0 earlier in the season.
With the exception of five plays, Cape pretty much had things its own way against Caesar Rodney. The Vikings actually outgained the Riders 285 to 278 and ran 57 plays to the Riders' 39.
Despite dominating the line of scrimmage, the Vikings didn't score until late in the fourth quarter, when quarterback Jon Howard lofted an 82-yard bomb to running back Nick Shaffer for a touchdown that accounted for the final 34-6 score.
Caesar Rodney, hobbled by several injuries including a season-ending injury to starting quarterback Joe Schonewolf, provided a preview of things to come right from the opening kickoff, when Robert Young burst through the middle for a 92-yard touchdown return that put CR up 6-0 just 13 seconds into the game.
More big plays were to come, specifically:
The loss overshadowed an outstanding performance by Cape quarterback Jon Howard, who completed 9 of 17 passes for 178 yards and the touchdown to Shaffer.
Cape Henlopen had beaten Caesar Rodney in each of the last two seasons to claim the last two Henlopen North crowns. CR then defeated Cape in the Division I state tournament semifinals last season to advance to the state championship game.
11:47 -- CAESAR RODNEY (6-0 CR)
9:00 -- CAESAR RODNEY (14-0 CR)
3:36 -- CAESAR RODNEY (21-0 CR)
10:50 -- CAESAR RODNEY (28-0 CR)
3:35 -- CAESAR RODNEY (34-0 CR)
2:39 -- CAPE HENLOPEN (34-6 CR)
Cape Henlopen coach Brian Donahue on the big plays that doomed his team:
"That's what Caesar Rodney is. They're capable of making big plays and they have the skill people to make big plays. We went into the game feeling that if we only gave up two big offensive plays and kept it around 14-7 into the fourth quarter that we'd have a good chance."
Donahue on his team outplaying CR despite the lopsided score:
"The kids played really well tonight. We matched their intensity for three quarters. We moved pretty well offensively but just couldn't get it into the end zone. Any time you get in the red zone and don't get it in that won't help against the No. 1 team in the state."
Donahue on the end of Cape's two-year reign atop the Henlopen North:
"The key is we've maintained seven winning seasons in a row since Coach (George) Glenn (former Cape coach) and I came here. That was our goal, to establish a tradition by maintaining a winning tradition. Now when people come here they know they've got to play. I'm proud of our kids. We have some great seniors playing for us."
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