Cavs eyeing opener with Erwin

Aug. 23, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Nerves may be a little on edge at East Rutherford High School.

As well it should be on the dawn of the 2013 season-opener for football. The Cavaliers open tonight at home against Erwin.

For players, like starting quarterback Austin Hollifield, it will be an opportunity to prove himself as the senior takes snaps for the first time as the starter under center.

"It's always good when you get your shot," Hollifield said. "It's a chance to prove I can lead this team to good things."

He'll have a little help with three senior wide receivers, including Kaleb McEntyre, Travis Waldroup-Rodriguez and Griffin Stamey.

While Hollifield may have something to prove, McEntyre has a different motivation for tonight. His older brother Darrian is doing his clinical work in physical therapy with Erwin and will be on the other side of the field tonight.

"It motivates me more than worries me," Kaleb said. "It's hard enough because I want to beat him."

But, the Cavaliers will have their work cut out for them.

With a young offensive and defensive line coupled with Erwin's want and ability to spread the field, game one could turn out to be a huge test for East Rutherford.

"We have to somehow contain them," said Cavaliers' head coach Clint Bland. "Their offense is wide open and they are going to throw."

The challenge for the Cavaliers on defense … aside from youth … will be containing at the line. More importantly, East Rutherford will have to work in the secondary to stop any yardage after the catch.

"We aren't going to get to the quarterback because they snap and throw very quick," Bland said. "They are going to try to run a lot of plays.

"Secondary coverage is going to be big. I feel good with the group we have but we're young."

Defensively, the Warriors have to contain the triple threat East Rutherford has at wide receiver. On top of that, Bland said the Cavaliers won't be strictly relying on the passing game to move the football.

"We're going to try to keep it balanced," Bland said. "We have to be able to run the ball and use play action."

While Bland hasn't named a starting running back for the season opener, he knows the importance of the communication between Hollifield and his receivers and how that could translate to successfully moving the ball downfield.

"It's huge," Bland said. "They work after practice to work on passing.

"He (Hollifield) knows where they are going to be and he knows what they're thinking and they know what he's thinking."

Despite that, Hollifield knows his work is cut out for him tonight.

"It's a challenge not having game reps," Hollifield said. "You can learn a lot in scrimmages but you don't get reps until you're on the field."