Hilltoppers rolling after East Burke win
Despite a surprising defensive look from the Cavaliers, it wasn't long before the R-S Central Hilltoppers got going against East Burke last Friday in a 35-6 win, the third straight for the Hilltoppers.
"We came out on offense and they were in something totally different than what we saw on tape, but the first play from scrimmage Matt Atchley broke through the line for 56-yard touchdown," Central head coach Mike Cheek said.
From there the rout was on for the Hilltoppers.
Quarterback Jay'len Hollis added a 2-yard touchdown to end the first quarter and tossed a 26-yard touchdown to Malik Whetstone in the second.
However, the Hilltopper defense outscored the offense in the second quarter with a fumble return for a touchdown by Desmond Whitesides and an interception return by Trey Clark.
The Hilltoppers forced six turnovers on the night.
"Our defense is getting better every week," Cheek said. "Our kids understand our scheme now. Most of the times in big games you need both sides to play well in order to win. Our kids have just kept at it."
Neither team score din the second half, but according to Cheek, it wasn't from a lack of trying as the Hilltoppers had penalties and a costly turnover in the end zone to end multiple drives.
"We didn't take our foot off the gas pedal. We had a couple good drives but had some holding calls that hurt us," Cheek said. "And you have to give their defense credit for playing better."
In the end, the Hilltoppers had another spectacular night on the ground racking 348 yards on 50 carries. But for Cheek, none of that matters after the final whistle blows.
"As soon as a game is over I'm already thinking about the next opponent and thinking about what I need to do against them," Cheek said.
Now riding a three-game winning streak, R-S Central hosts county rival East Rutherford this Friday. Those two factors make for an excited fan base that hasn't had much to cheer about in recent years. But Cheek isn't worried about the hype.
"I learned a long time ago that when you're winning, everyone is on board with you but if you're not, everyone is pointing the finger at you," Cheek said. "But our boys are excited."