Cavs defense shines in timely win
After three quarters, East Rutherford and Draughn were in a scoreless deadlock. But in the fourth quarter the Wildcats defense lapsed and the Cavaliers stood strong in a 10-6 East Rutherford win.
The Draughn backfield featuring a three-headed monster in Adam Estep, Dominique Patterson was held to just 87 yards after averaging 224 yards per game prior to Friday night.
“The defense played a great game. I was very impressed with what they did on that side of the ball,” East Rutherford (3-5, 3-2 SMAC) head coach Clint Bland said. “We looked forward all week to those big offensive lineman and those two big fullbacks that scared us to death.
“The defensive coaches put together a great game plan and the kids executed for probably their best performance of the year and it probably couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Senior defensive end Jordan Strickland highlighted the defensive effort with an outstanding game before being ejected with just minutes left in the game.
Thankfully for Bland and the Cavaliers, the ejection and one-game suspension attached to the punishment was overturned by the North Carolina Athletic Association in Chapel Hill.
On the other side of the ball, the Cavalier offense sputtered for a third consecutive week. However, two turnovers deep into Draughn territory didn’t help.
“We drove the ball up the field about two or three times and got nothing from it,” Bland said. “We just couldn’t get the ball in the end zone.”
Quarterback Austin Hollifield completed eight passes for just 54 yards, but running backs Kameron Garrison and DJ Miller combined for 154 yards on the ground.
“We struggled another week throwing the ball but it’s something I’m just going to have to live with,” Bland said. “As long as we can turn around and hand it to Garrison or DJ Miller we’ll still have a chance. We just need to throw it enough to keep eight people out of the box.”
An 8-yard Garrison touchdown late in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference.
Now the Cavaliers are focused on tough homecoming test when they host a Crest team (7-1, 5-0 SMAC) that is still perfect in conference play.