Cavaliers win a wild one over Chase, 31-17
Interceptions, fumbles, lead changes, personal fouls, fake punts and even a blackout, Friday night had it all as the East Rutherford Cavaliers saved their playoff hopes with a 31-17 over Chase at Bryan Harrill Stadium on senior night.
“I’m proud of those seniors and the sophomores and juniors that said we were going to win this one for our seniors,” East head coach Clint Bland said. “If that was there last one it was a pretty good way to end it.
“It was a must-win situation and they did what it took to win the game,” Chase head coach Daniel Bailey said. “They wanted the football game more than we did.”
The win made the Cavaliers (4-7, 4-4 SMAC) playoff eligible as they awaited the playoff brackets set to be released Saturday morning.
“Our guys are all fired up and we plan to practice Monday,” Cavalier quarterback Austin Hollifield said.
“Whether we get in or not it’s nice to go out with a bang,” senior Cavalier defensive lineman Jordan Strickland added. “If we do get in we’ll practice Monday, work for it and win another one.”
The teams went into the half tied at 7-7, but the Cavaliers stormed out of the break scoring 10 and 14 points in the final two quarters.
“We came out here, had a tough first half and came out and had a great second half when we’ve had trouble finishing games,” East Rutherford receiver Griffin Stamey said.
Hollifield led the Cavaliers with 181 yards passing with touchdown throws to fellow seniors Stamey and Kaleb McEntyre.
“We just made big plays when we need them. Griffin and Kaleb stepped up major,” Hollifield said.
Hollifield also scampered 44 yards for a touchdown on a fake punt with 1:23 left in the game to put the game out of reach.
Chase (6-5, 3-5 SMAC) was led by senior fullback Josh Wright with 130 rushing yards including a 61-yard score.
Chase jumped on the board early on a 5-yard touchdown run by Tyrell Boykins with 3:35 left in the first quarter, but East Rutherford took over from there.
The Cavaliers tied the game at 7-7 in the second quarter when Hollifield found Stamey in the middle of the field for a 30-yard scoring strike.
“The pass to Griffin was big to tie it up before halftime,” Bland said.
“We work on reading the routes all the time,” Stamey said. “Kaleb ran a good route on the other side and took the safety so I knew all I had to do was stick under and it was really just an easy play and a good throw.”
Chase had a chance to
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regain the lead before the half but its drive stalled when Wright was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 run.
The Cavaliers took over the ball and looked as if they wouldn’t get anything before the half, but a 20-yard completion to Stamey on fourth-and-10 put the Cavaliers far enough into Chase territory to set up a 45-yard field goal attempt by Harrison Wilkerson that sailed wide right to end the half.
The second half was when things got really interesting.
With 7:18 left in the third quarter, half of the lights on each light tower turned off. The officials cleared the field for a few minutes before bringing the players back to continue play on the dimly-lit field.
“It seemed like when the lights went down everyone got more heated,” Hollifield said.
“We were saying it was like the Super Bowl,” Stamey said. “It just slowed everything down and got everyone back cold. That’s the one thing that got on my nerves.”
One the first play after the delay, Chase’s Tyrell Boykins was picked off by Jordan Davenport.
“Turnovers hurt us,” Bailey said. “Once we got behind we would shoot ourselves in the foot. Once we got in striking distance we would shoot ourselves in the foot. Those mistakes are what cost us the ball game.”
The interception set up a scoring drive for East that ended on a 25-yard field goal by Wilkerson to take a 10-7 lead with 4:18 left in the third.
Chase turned the ball over on the ensuing drive via a Wright fumble that the Cavaliers fell on at the Chase 28.
Just a few plays later, Hollifield rolled to his left and dropped a time just over the outstretched arms of Chase’s Malik Young and into McEntyre’s hands in the corner of the end zone.
“It was a heck of a throw and a heck of a catch,” Bland said of the play. “I can’t wait to see that one on film.”
The point after gave the Cavaliers a 10-point advantage, 17-7.
The Cavalier defense forced two more Chase three-and-outs before the special teams came up big on the ensuing East drive.
The Cavalier offense was forced to punt but Chase’s D’Andre Kelly muffed the catch an the ball bounced around towards the goal line before East Rutherford’s Calvin Camp scooped up the loose ball and stretched the ball over the goal line as he was being tackled for a Cavalier touchdown.
Chase made a comeback bid with Wright’s 61-yard score and a 25-yard Jimenez field goal with 2:23 left in the game to cut the Cavalier lead to 24-17, but Hollifield’s incredibly successful fake punt that went all the way for a 44-yard touchdown iced the game for the Cavaliers with 1:23 left.
“I think we overcame a lot tonight especially with the lights,” Bland said. “It throws a kink in everything. I’m trying to run the clock down but I don’t know how much time there is and we’re having to run a coach on and off the field .. talk about emotion.”
“The turnovers just killed us,” Bailey said of the teams five total turnovers. “We’re fortunate they didn’t score more than they did. We’re supposed to be playing better football than what we played tonight.”
Both teams were left off the NCHSAA playoff brackets released Saturday ending their seasons.
High school football
Friday, Nov. 8, 2013
at East RutherfordHigh School
E. RUTHERFORD 31, CHASE 17
E. Rutherford^0 7 14 14 SEmD 31
Chase^7 0 0 10 SEmD 17
CHS – Tyrell Boykins 5 run. (Omar Jimenez kick) 3:35
ER – Griffin Stamey 30 pass from Austin Hollifield. (Harrison Wilkerson kick) 2:29
ER — Wilkerson 25 field goal. 4:18
ER — Kaleb McEntyre 19 pass from Hollifield. (Wilkerson kick) 2:28
ER — Calvin Camp muffed punt recovery. (Wilkerson kick) 7:45
CHS — Josh Wright 61 run. (Jimenez kick) 6:41
CHS — Jimenez 25 field goal. 2:23
ER – Hollifield 44 run. (Wilkerson kick) 1:23
RUSHING—ER; Austin Hollifield 5-52, Kameron Garrison 12-43, Justin Rogers 7-26, Kaleb McEntyre 6-11, DJ Miller 1-2. CHS; Josh Wright 18-130, D’Andre Kelly 13-73, Tyrell Boykins 10-24, Stephan Phillips 3-18, Jordan O’Rourke 1-5, Gus Owens 1-2.
PASSING— ER; Hollifield 9-22-1-181. CHS; Boykins 5-15-2-55.
RECEIVING—ER; McEntyre 4-61, Stamey 2-50, Desmond Stone 1-39, Will Hollifield 2-31. CHS; Dace Rollins 2-19, Zeke Brandle 1-18, Kelly 1-9, Malik Young 1-9.