Cavs need win to salvage playoff hopes
Four wins is the minimum for playoff eligibility. East Rutherford welcomes Chase to Forest City for the regular season finale with just three wins to its name. A win for the Cavaliers is no guarantee for postseason play, but without it, there's no hope.
"The kids understand that we have to win," East Rutherford head coach Clint Bland said. "If we don't get the win it's over."
East (3-7, 3-4 SMAC) is fresh off a heartbreaking loss to R-S Central last week, but if there's one team that could help them put that loss behind them, it's Chase (6-4, 4-3 SMAC).
"It's another rival game and the kids are up for it," Bland said. "If this wasn't a Chase week I think we might be a little down. I think it helps us recover.
"You really don't want your schedule to fall that way but it is what it is. They look forward to these two games. They have to prepare themselves and treat every game the same way. We want to beat anyone we play but of course they get jacked up about these games."
As the Cavaliers prepared for the Trojans this week, they focused on what most coaches have nightmares about before they play Chase, the triple option.
Not only is it tough to defend, it's nearly impossible to recreate.
"It's hard to take our scout team and prepare for the Chase offense," Bland said. "It takes a little bit longer to set up the scout team and run the plays. It's hard to recreate what they do every day at the same speed."
With that in mind, the Cavalier defense has had relative success against potent ground attacks in recent weeks. They stifled a Draughn team known for their rushing prowess and despite the loss, they held an R-S Central team that's rushed for over 400 yards on multiple occasions in 2013 to just 75 yards on 35 carries last week.
Offensively, for the Cavaliers, it starts with their ground game led by sophomore running back Kameron Garrison.
"We need to be balanced," Bland said. "We always want to establish the running game and when it isn't there we'll go to the air."
Another motivating factor for the red and black bench is the fact that this is Senior Night for those playing their final home game in Forest City.
"This group didn't have a lot of success early on and this year hasn't turned out the way we wanted. It's always tough seeing kids that you've had for four years go," Bland said. "You want them to go out with a win and feel like they had a successful high school career."
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Bryan Harrill Stadium.