Caesar Rodney couldn’t stop Reggie Carroll. But William Penn couldn’t stop anything Caesar Rodney did, and that made the difference.
The Riders ran the ball effectively, created turnovers and displayed an explosive deep passing game on Saturday night in a 49-33 home victory over William Penn in the opening round of the DIAA Division I Football Tournament.
Fourth-seeded Caesar Rodney (8-3) advanced to play at No. 1 Middletown in a semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Fifth-seeded William Penn finished its season at 7-4.
Carroll, the Colonials’ junior running back, was brilliant with 30 carries for 316 yards and four touchdowns. But the Riders’ balanced rushing attack and two touchdown passes by Alex Kemp proved to be too much.
CR’s Dominique Dorsey started the scoring with a 1-yard run, and Arthur Miles’ interception set up Kemp’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Seth Brosius for a 14-0 lead.
Then Carroll heated up, taking a toss, hitting a seam and saying goodbye for a 73-yard touchdown run on the final play of the first quarter.
The big play didn’t deter the Riders, as they answered with a seven-play, 70-yard drive. Kemp capped it with a 1-yard sneak for a 21-7 lead with 10:06 to play in the second.
The Colonials were on the move when CR’s Rasheed Teasley stepped in front of a pass and returned it 32 yards to the William Penn 26. Kemp went up top to Kendall Wicks for a touchdown on the next play.
Then Miles did it again, intercepting another pass and returning it 33 yards. Kemp and Wicks hooked up again on the next play, this time for 39 yards to the Colonials 1. Dorsey scored from the 1 two plays later to push the Riders up 35-7 with 4:45 left in the first half.
CR forced a punt, but William Penn’s Rafeeq Mulero-Osiba recovered a fumble on the return at the Riders 25. The Colonials didn’t waste time, as D.J. Johnson drilled a 25-yard TD pass to Deshawn Smith on the next play to pull William Penn within 35-13 at the half.
Carroll really went to work in the third, breaking a 35-yard touchdown run, then sprinting 75 yards for another score as the Colonials cut the lead to 35-27.
The Riders answered with a 10-play, 65-yard drive that kept the William Penn offense on the bench for 4:18. Dean Johnson’s 1-yard run made it 42-27 with 2:10 left in the third quarter.
Carroll wasn’t finished, carrying nine times on a 12-play drive and scoring from the 1. But the Riders blocked a PAT for the second time, leaving William Penn trailing 42-33.
Carroll finished William Penn’s 11-game season with 2,100 yards and 23 rushing touchdowns.