Lake Forest slight football favorite on homecoming weekend

STATEWIDE – Halfway home. At least almost.

After this weekend’s football games, barring another interruption from Mother Nature, teams will be at the midway point of their respective schedules. Games really start to mean even more from here on out.

So far the season has played out fairly predictably, but there have been a few surprises here and there.

For example, who would have guessed in the preseason that Milford would be a heavy week five favorite, potentially move to 4-1 thus far and actually be a Division II playoff contender? I’m willing to bet not many.

Lake Forest hosts Delmar for homecoming. (The Journal/file photo)

Lake Forest hosts Delmar for homecoming. (The Journal/file photo)

What about Smyrna’s play? Sure the Eagles were the trendy pick to win the Henlopen North this season, but those videogame numbers though. Even in last week’s nasty weather Smyrna put 40 points on the board. Pretty amazing.

Postseason play is still a while off, but for those teams that are still hopeful – and that’s nearly all of them – week five is where we should start to see separation between the contenders and pretenders. Particularly after games like Delmar at Lake Forest and Cape Henlopen at Sussex Central.

Here’s some predictions for this week’s games, many of which are homecoming contests.

Caesar Rodney at Sussex Tech: Many schools schedule programs they are typically stronger than for homecoming week. Sussex Tech, however, plays usual Henlopen bully Caesar Rodney.

As luck would have it though, this hasn’t been CR’s year so far. The Riders, after last week’s loss to Division II St. Georges, are 1-3, albeit against a tough schedule. Tech, meanwhile, was 2-1 entering Monday’s twice rescheduled game at Sussex Central, which didn’t finish before press time.

CR’s new hurry-up offense might eventually get the Riders back on top of the Northern Division some year, but in its inaugural run points have been mostly fleeting. And not scoring points against a team like Sussex Tech, which is loaded in the backfield with explosive players, likely means a loss. The pick here is for the Ravens to celebrate homecoming with a 28-20 win.

Cape Henlopen at Sussex Central: This might be the most difficult game of the week to figure.

On one side you have Cape Henlopen, which is 3-1 thus far but has only played one strong team… That team, Oakdale High School out of Maryland, beat the Vikings 48-12.

Across the field is Sussex Central, which was 1-2 entering Monday’s bout versus Tech. The Golden Knights’ two losses came against teams that would give most Delaware squads fits but they were lopsided too. Central’s lone win is a 21-0 opening week shutout against Division II Laurel.

At first glance, it’s tempting to pick Cape Henlopen here because the Vikings are entering the contest with a full week’s work of practice and on a roll, as they have beaten their last two opponents by a combined score of 81-0.

Still, Sussex Central has owned Cape over the years, including in many of the matchups where the Vikings entered as the favorite, few times as that has happened.

This is all to say that although it might not get the play that some other games will this weekend, this one could be very interesting.

In the end, it’s hard to pick a team that will only get three real days of practice before playing, so the guess is Cape Henlopen 34, Sussex Central 27.

Indian River at Laurel: Laurel was supposed to open its new stadium in grand fashion last Friday with a battle versus rival Delmar.

Instead, the Bulldogs annual clash against the Wildcats wasn’t played until Monday afternoon and was done so at the old stadium.

So, the first ever opponent to play at Laurel’s new digs will be Indian River, the Henlopen South’s other great program since the turn of the century (Delmar sharing the honor with the Indians).

Speaking of firsts, IR head coach Phil Townsend picked up win No. 1 of his career last week after the Indians easily dispatched of Seaford. Several more wins will undoubtedly follow in years to come. But one of them won’t come this weekend. Laurel 27, Indian River 13.

Seaford at Milford: Not even Milford football fans will argue that the Buccaneers’ schedule has been overly difficult so far this season. But the strength of schedule shouldn’t detract from what the Bucs have done to this point.

Already Milford’s football team has guaranteed the program’s best season of the last three and a victory Friday versus struggling Seaford will give the Bucs four wins for the first time since 2009.

Look for the Milford offense to score a lot in this one and the defense to come real close to pitching a shutout on homecoming weekend. Milford 42, Seaford 6.

Delmar at Lake Forest: Scheduling Delmar for homecoming takes guts. Or there just wasn’t a way to avoid the situation.

Coming into the season, many thought the winner of this game would go on to be Henlopen South champions. And that still could be, but both have a lot of questions surrounding them.

Included in the questions is can Lake put together a game where both its offense and defense is clicking at the same time?

None of the Spartans’ contests thus far have been decided by more than one possession, and in two of those games it was the offense that sputtered and in the other pair it was the defense that struggled.

Not too long ago, Delmar and Lake played in a game that after 48 minutes ended 2-0. It wouldn’t be overly surprising to see this one end that way as well. Then again, it also wouldn’t be shocking if both teams scored in the 40s.

We’ll go with Lake winning this one 26-19 although that score seems way too “average” to be correct.

Predictions for the rest of this weekend’s games that include Henlopen teams are: St. John Paul 24, Woodbridge 20; Dover 54, Polytech 0; Smyrna 48, Howard 21.

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