Our series of stories on high school football stadiums continues with Rider Stadium, home of Caesar Rodney’s football team.
I must admit, this story is as much about my broadcasting career as it is about Caesar Rodney Rider Stadium.
My dream job of providing “play-by-play” on the radio started in 1979 as I called the Rider’s games on a small AM station in Dover with Bill Satterfield.
The radio station, then WKEN 1600 AM, carried all of the Riders games and I handled play-by-play every year from 1981-2001 with many analysts including good friends Chuck Williams, Mark Lewis and the late Terry Lovell.
Back then one had to climb up two ladders while carrying equipment to enter the press box while carrying equipment. Today, the stadium is much different.
It has an all-weather surface, a picturesque entrance complete with benches and a tree-lined walkway. The press box is easily accessible from the spacious stadium bleachers and there is ample parking all around the school on Old North Road.
Caesar Rodney High dates back to the early 1900s and was the first consolidated district in Delaware when schools from Camden and Wyoming joined together in 1916.
Until 1967, the high school was located where Fred Fifer Middle now stands. Then the building on Old North Road was opened. My father’s construction company built the new school, and I recall him taking me on a tour before the building opened.
Caesar Rodney’s biggest rival is Dover, and the two first played against each other in 1935 with the Riders coming out on top 14-13. There have been 72 games in the series nicknamed “The Civil War.”
Dover has won the last five times and holds the series advantage with 38 wins with four ties while the Riders have collected 30 wins, the last coming in 2017. Of the 72 games played, 27 have been decided by one score or less.
Caesar Rodney has hoisted the state championship trophy three times including 1975 under coach Joe Purzycki, 1990 with coach Tom Leonard and 2008 under the tutelage of the late Mike Schoenwolf.
Although a state title eluded him, John Coveleski is one of the most successful coaches at Caesar Rodney, compiling a record of 138-48-2 the most wins in school history.
This season a Rider alumni takes over as head coach of the football team with Shaun Strickland, Class of 2001, leaving left Milford to take the position. He is the first graduate of Caesar Rodney to take over the football program since at least the 1960s.
On a personal note, I have broadcast more games for CR football than any other school, including the first 252 of my career that now stands at 1,014.
Rider Stadium will always be a special place for me. It was my home-away-from-home for more than 20 years. I made many friends during that span from 1979-2001 including coaches, players, parents, fans and co-workers.
If you have a chance this season, stop by and take in a game on Old North Road, and make some memories like I did.
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