East falls to Warriors, 47-28
Erwin's football team came in with a highly touted passing attack.
So, it was a little surprising they utilized the running game to blow past East Rutherford, 47-28 Friday night in both teams' season-opener.
Of course, it didn't help the Cavaliers' (0-1) effort to manage just 46 yards of total offense in the second half — including minus-1 yards in a third quarter that head coach Clint Bland would like to forget.
"Our run game was no where to be found," Bland said.
The Warriors (1-0) had four unanswered touchdowns between the third and fourth quarters, breaking a 21-21 tie. Over the course of the Warriors' domination, East Rutherford had little success stopping the run game, led by Kelman Simpson — who ended the game with 155 yards and 3 touchdowns on 19 carries.
"We can run the ball and we feel good offensively because of that," said Erwin head coach Mike Sexton.
But, going into halftime, the game was nowhere near decided as both teams traded scores until Simpson scored from 1-yard out with just under 3 seconds left in the half.
Regardless, the Cavaliers went into halftime brimming with confidence after holding Erwin's running game to 103 yards.
However, the third quarter proved dismal as East managed its lone score of the quarter when Calvin Camp scooped up a fumble by Warrior quarterback Austin Brown and scampered 77 yards for a score, tying the game 28-28 with nine minutes left.
That was about the end of the jubilation for East Rutherford as the rest of the quarter was dominated by the Warriors.
Brown found a wide-open hole up the middle for a 48-yard touchdown run on Erwin's ensuing possession that took the wind right out of the Cavaliers' sails.
"It felt good in the first half but that's why you play four quarters," Bland said.
On their next possession, the Warriors went back to the ground game and picked up three consecutive first downs into East territory. Simpson found his grove, taking Erwin down to the red zone before Brown called his own number for a 4-yard touchdown run. Erwin kept the ball on the ground the entire series — the first time in the game.
Offensively, East Rutherford had (minus) 1 yards of offense in the third quarter.
In the fourth, Erwin kept the offensive pressure, going over 70 yards on their first drive of the quarter, capped with Simpson's third touchdown of the game, putting the Warriors up 41-21.
East picked up a small victory late in the fourth when DJ Miller ran up the middle for a 25-yard touchdown with 41 seconds remaining.
But, it was too little too late as the Cavaliers gave up 586 yards of offense to Erwin while getting just 200 yards of their own.
"We played a good half of football but good halves don't win games," Bland said.
Quarterback Austin Hollifield ended the game throwing for 70 yards — 34 of which going to senior Travis Waldroup-Rodriguez and 24 to Kaleb McEntyre. Rodriguez pulled down a 28-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter that provided spark to the Cavaliers going into halftime.
Now, East Rutherford will travel to North Gaston to start a three-game road swing that won't see them back home until Sept. 20.