Cavs moving past tough loss
A loss in general is hard enough to swallow, but a loss to a county rival in a game that you controlled for the majority of the time, is another story.
If just the box score and stats are analyzed, it's hard to imagine that the East Rutherford Cavalier's could have lost to R-S Central last Friday night.
East had 17 first downs to the Hilltoppers' seven. The Cavaliers had 287 yards of total offense to the Hilltoppers' 173. But it was the big plays for R-S Central, a 68-yard touchdown pass and an 84-yard kickoff return by Matt Atchley during the closing seconds of the first half that propelled the Hilltoppers to a 20-17 win.
"We should have been up 17-7 going into halftime but they ran that kick back and got themselves all riled up," Bland said. " They played well enough to win and we didn't make the plays we needed to in order to win."
From that moment, the Cavaliers failed to score again.
"We drove the ball well a couple times but missed some field goals and just couldn't punch it back in the end zone," Bland said."I went in at halftime and told them that even though they ran back the kick it isn't the kicker's fault. We still had 11 guys on the field to make the tackle and we just didn't."
Aside from the 68-yard pass, East Rutherford allowed just 105 total yards that was averaging nearly 310 yards per game coming into the night.
"It's disappointing," Bland said. "You practice all week and we put together a great game plan. We stuffed the run but we gave up that big pass play. It's just one of those things. Now we'll just come out here and try to get better this week."
According to Bland, the big plays are what hurt the worst.
"If they run 10-12 plays and then score, that's one thing, but you have got to eliminate the big play," Bland said. "You can preach until you're blue in the face and practice as hard as you can, but until you eliminate the big play it's hard to win."
The loss may have been the final nail in the coffin for the Cavaliers' playoff hopes.
"We were fighting for our playoff lives. We should have took care of business. It's heartbreaking, I'm not going to say it's not. It's tough on the coaches and it's tough on the players," Bland said.
However, the Cavaliers close their regular season this week with a home game against Chase. Bland hopes the players "get up" for Senior Night despite the fact a win would likely just go towards the team's pride.
"The kids aren't dummies, they know that the playoffs are a long shot," Bland said. But we have Senior Night this week and we're facing another county rival. Hopefully they come into Friday ready to play."