Cavs top East Burke with defense, 35-28

Sep. 21, 2013 @ 06:37 PM
In their three losses this season, the East Rutherford defense surrendered leads late.
 
On Friday night, it was just the opposite.
 
The Cavalier defense came down with a pair of interceptions — including one returned by AJ Simmons 38 yards for a touchdown — to lead East Rutherford to a 35-28 win over East Burke.
 
Additionally, sophomore running back Kameron Garrison had three touchdowns — two in the fourth quarter, including a 69-yard go-ahead run with 3 minutes, 27 seconds left — to lead the effort.
 
“That was the ugliest pretty win I’ve seen,” said East Rutherford head coach Clint Bland.
 
East Rutherford’s defense also held the running attack of East Burke to just 120 yards.
 
But, it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that things came alive for East Rutherford (2-3, 2-0 SMAC).
 
Trailing 21-14, Caleb McEntyre put East Rutherford into solid position to start the fourth quarter with a 14-yard punt return to the East Burke 28.
 
Facing third and long on the drive, DJ Miller hit a streaking Griffin Stamey for 19 yards. The drive was finished by Garrison from 6 yards out to tie the game with just under 10 minutes left in the game. Prior to the score, East had two drives begin at the 50 or better that resulted in zero points.
 
“We missed assignments and we didn’t serve them any pressure,” said East Burke head coach Jim Ruark. “They practice too and we had mistakes.”
 
On the subsequent drive, on third down, Simmons picked Reece off and scampered 38 yards for a go-ahead touchdown to put East Rutherford up 28-21. It was a swing of three minutes where East Rutherford went from being down 7 to up 7.
 
“You look back and that interception was big,” Bland said.
 
Just when the East Rutherford defense appeared to hold again, Clark took a bad snap on a punt attempt 13 yards for a first down.
 
The penalty bug bit East Rutherford after chasing Reese out of bounds, the defense was flagged for a late hit, putting East Burke into East Rutherford territory at the 34.
 
On fourth down, East Burke running back Larry Clark burned the defense on a 3-yard run to keep the drive alive with just under four minutes to go. On the next play, quarterback Elijah Reece hit tight end Drake Haas on a 23-yard touchdown to tie the game.
 
“We just can’t keep getting the penalties,” Bland said. “We have to clean that up.”
 
t didn’t last long as Kameron Garrison took the first hand-off from scrimmage straight up the middle 69 yards for a touchdown, giving East Rutherford back the lead, 35-28 with 3:27 left to play.
 
Penalties again reared their head after East Rutherford was flagged for an unsportsmanlike penalty on the kickoff.
 
It was the defense that brought it back after TyZell Hunt recovered a Clark fumble at the East Burke 49 on the next play.
 
Despite a three-and-out a punt buried East Burke on their own 1-yard line with 2:01 left in the game.
 
Miller helped his own cause after picking off Reece at the East Rutherford 49 with just over a minute left.
 
“I just saw it coming,” Miller said. “When I saw him jump in the air I just went for it. If I make that catch, we win the game.”
 
The win gives East Rutherford confidence going into a bye-week before preparing for Burns in two weeks.
 
“We needed another win,” Bland said.