Cavaliers 52, Oilers 19
By Eric Becker
CARLINVILLE (Nov. 2, 2017) – Special team play in the first half helped the Carlinville football team for some extra possessions Friday night in the first round of the Class 3A state football playoffs.
The Cavaliers would build a 38-0 halftime lead en route to a 52-19 win over East Alton-Wood River at the CHS football field.
The pressure to win a football game in the postseason for this group after getting to the state finals last year was there for this team.
“I’ve never been part of a unit that had to follow up a state runner-up team,” said Carlinville coach Chad Easterday. “So I think the pressure on them has been enormous to come out and win a playoff game. I think they are hungry for more and I think that’s something we will strive for. But I was very happy to get that monkey off our backs.”
Carlinville (9-1) advances to play St. Teresa, also 9-1 in a four-seed vs. five-seed matchup Saturday afternoon in Decatur. Kickoff time is 2 p.m.
“I thought we played very well on special teams again,” said C.Easterday. “Kyle Dixon is a weapon and I thought Jarret made a great read and got the ball in the proper spot.”
The Cavies overcame their first loss of the season by scoring on its first play from scrimmage for the second straight week.
It was the junior duo of Jarret Easterday to Kyle Dixon connection once again, this time on an 84-yard touchdown catch and run. It was a screen pass which Dixon was able to get to the outside and out-sprint the defenders down the sideline to make it 7-0 at 10:41 of the first quarter.
The Cavies then recovered an onside kick, but could do nothing with that possession.
Defensively, the team stopped the Oilers at the Cavalier 31-yard line on downs with 8:12 left in the quarter, and went on a 69-yard drive in four plays. Tucker Hughes scored on a 25-yard run to make it 13-0.
Carlinville then recovered a pooch kick down the left sideline at the Oiler 32-yard line. Another four-play drive resulted in Ethan Wallace’s four-yard touchdown run and a 19-0 lead with 5:55 left in the opening quarter.
“Wood River took away the throws early, but we were able to hurt them with the inside run,” Easterday said. “That made a difference in terms of moving the ball, moving the chains, moving the sticks. They didn’t let us quick score as much as we did. I felt we grinded on them a little bit.”
EAWR drove down to the Cavie 30-yard line late in the first quarter, but turned the ball over on downs once again.
Garrett Campbell had a 21-yard run to start the next drive, and Hughes added a 17-yard run. While the drive stalled, Hughes kicked a 23-yard field goal with 8:48 left in the half to make it 22-0.
After the Cavie defense forced a three and out for a punt, the Carlinville offense went 53 yards in five plays. Easterday had a 32-yard pass play to Josh Hinzman, and Colton DeLong scored from three yards out on the next play to make it 30-0.
Carlinville forced a fumble and recovered at their own 49-yard line.
Two plays later, Easterday connected with Hinzman on a 50-yard touchdown pass to make it 38-0, which is the way it would stay at halftime.
The Cavies lost a fumble midway through the third quarter, leading to the Oilers first score of the game, a 20-yard touchdown pass from Justin Englar to Zach Womack, making it 38-6.
The Cavies countered with a four-minute drive of 57 yards, getting a Hughes four-yard touchdown run and subsequent two-point run to make it 46-6 through three quarters.
Womack scored on touchdown runs of 15 and 58 yards to trim the deficit to 46-19 with 5:15 to play.
Jahraven Johnson countered with a 41-yard touchdown run late in the game for the Cavies’ final score of the contest.
Carlinville outgained East Alton Wood River 465-237 in total offense, including 242-11 in passing.
Easterday completed 10 of 12 passes for 242 yards and two scores.
Dixon caught six passes for 142 yards and Hinzman had three catches for 96. Hughes rushed 16 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
The Cavies had a 23-10 edge in first downs. Both teams had one turnover.
Womack rushed for 157 yards on 16 carries, most of those in the second half, for the Oilers, who finish the season at 7-3. Gabe Grimes had 50 yards on 12 touches.
Englar completed just two of eight passes for 16 yards.
Next up is St. Teresa, and 2000-yard rusher Jacardia Wright. Both teams enter with 9-1 records. Both teams lost a close game late in the season. Both teams made the state championship last year and finished second, the Bulldogs in Class 1A and the Cavies in Class 3A.
“We didn’t do enough things last week to win,” said Easterday. “Maybe the best thing to happen to lose a game in weeks one through nine instead of losing in weeks 10 through 14 if that’s the case. I thought we bounced back very well.”