Cavs enter game with new QB, similar strategy
It may not be the most ideal of situations but East Rutherford head football coach Clint Bland isn’t too worried.
Well, maybe he’s not that worried.
Last week, in a win over Kings Mountain, Cavalier starting quarterback Austin Hollifield was knocked out of the game with a concussion and will miss today’s 7:30 p.m. home clash with East Burke.
In his place will be junior DJ Miller who took over with an 8-point lead and drove East Rutherford’s offense down for what would be the game-winning drive after Kameron Garrison scored from 2 yards out.
Now, Miller will be tasked with going from start to finish with the offense.
“I’m happy we have a win but if this quarterback gets knocked out we’ll have to put a running back in and hope he can take a snap,” Bland said.
Despite some trepidation, Bland said Miller does provide the same options at quarterback as Hollifield.
“With DJ’s ability to run, it gave us a dual threat back there and he’s not the passer Austin is but there is some things we can do with him,” Bland said.
Additionally, the Cavaliers (1-3, 1-0 SMAC) will have Griffin Stamey back in pads tonight. Stamey sat out the last two games after suffering an MCL strain during practice.
As for East Burke (1-2, 0-0 SMAC), they bring a running game that stung McDowell County last week, 14-7.
“To me, everyone looks good,” Bland said. “They don’t look at big and physical as Kings Mountain on video but they run the football well.”
Bland said East Burke utilizes an I-formation running attack and line up similar to East Rutherford.
“Anytime you watch a video and a team runs the football successfully, it scares me,” Bland said. “I would rather see a passing team than one that runs the ball right down your throat.”
It could cause some problems with the East Rutherford defense but Bland said he has seen improvements over the last four weeks in a defense that allowed leads to slip late in the first three games of the season — all losses.
“If you take one of the touchdowns from last week away, because it was on me, the defense only gave up 13 or 14 points,” Bland said. “It’s slowly coming and it’s good to get a win.”
That win has helped over the last week as Bland said practice has been “more enjoyable” for, not just him and his coaching staff, but for the players.
“It’s much easier to go to practice when you are coming off a win,” Bland said. “We have had a very good week of practice and, I hope that carries over.”