When Caesar Rodney gets its attack rolling, soccer isn’t a low-scoring game.
The Riders are averaging almost six goals per game, and they kept up that torrid pace and took a big step toward their second straight Henlopen North title with a 7-2 victory at archrival Dover on Thursday night.
“We try to be a very attack-oriented team,” CR coach Darrell Gravatt said. “Attack in numbers.”
The fourth-ranked Riders (10-1, 5-0) pushed their goal total to 65 in 11 games. Dover, which has enjoyed a nice bounceback from a 7-7-1 season last year, slipped to 9-3-1 and 2-2-1.
Caesar Rodney’s first score came on an own goal after a pass took an unlucky bounce off a Senators defender in the 12th minute. In the 23rd minute, the Riders’ Nick Gruwell chipped a pass forward to Chimaobi Ikwuagwu, who fought his way around a defender and scored into the lower right corner for a 2-0 lead.
The Senators came right back four minutes later, as Aniq Gill headed in Dillon Marier’s long throw-in to cut the lead in half. But CR scored again just before halftime, as Austin Hayward buried the rebound after Ikwuagwu’s 20-yard blast hit the crossbar.
“We came together, and we played as a team,” Hayward said. “We had a little mishap in our previous game against Glasgow [a 6-4 win]. We sat down and watched film, took it all in, listened to coach and just came out and put it all together.”
The Riders’ Thomas Aloe fed Ikwuagwu for another goal just two minutes into the second half. But Dover cut the margin to 4-2 in the 46th minute when the speedy Christian Whitney-Smith made a blazing run down the left side and slipped the ball into the right corner of the net.
CR shook off the Senators’ score, and made it 5-2 in the 54th minute when Hayward’s boot glanced off a Dover wall and Adrian Coverdale headed it in. Ikwuagwu scored the final two goals to finish the night with four.
“We went back to the basics,” Ikwuagwu said. “Everyone on this team has a little thing to do, and they did that thing right tonight. That’s how we got that ‘W.'”
The Riders attacked constantly, firing off 23 shots to only three for Dover.
“We went from inside to outside and then back inside,” Gravatt said. “We tried to use the width of the field, and we tried to knock the ball around and make it a total team effort.”