Cavaliers become playoff eligible with 50-8 home win

Cavaliers become playoff eligible with 50-8 home win

CARLINVILLE (Sept. 28, 2017) – Quick strikes doomed Roxana Friday night in a 50-8 loss to the Cavaliers at Carlinville High School.

Jarret Easterday threw four first-half touchdown passes, and  Carlinville scored two first quarter touchdowns on just one play. A pair of special team touchdowns in the third quarter added to the Cavaliers fuel.

Carlinville improved to 5-0 on the season, Roxana is 0-5. The Cavaliers travel to Southwestern to meet the pass attack of Caleb Robinson and the Piasa Birds (2-3) Friday night.

After forcing a three-and-out, the Cavaliers took over after a 49-yard punt a its own 48-yard line to start the game.

Easterday wasted little time, connecting with Donovan King on a 52-yard touchdown pass across the middle on the first play from scrimmage, and the Cavies led early 7-0 with 10:19 left in the first quarter.

“We got the ball out there to Donovan, he’s really quick,” said Carlinville coach Chad Easterday. “They run a unique style of offense . After they drove down, we held them on fourth down, we got “settled in” so to speak.”

Two drives later, the Cavaliers needed just one play to drive 75 yards, a touchdown pass from Easterday to Jake Ambuel.

Despite having possession of the ball for just 2:22 of the first quarter, the Cavaliers led 13-0.

After blocking a punt, the Cavaliers took over deep into Roxana territory. Early in the second quarter, they were stopped, but Tucker Hughes made a 21-yard field goal on fourth and goal to make it a 16-0 game.

Roxana drove down to the Cavies 23-yard line but lost the ball on downs. Carlinville responded with a 77-yard drive in eight plays, with a personal foul on the Shells also tossed int. Easterday found Kyle Dixon from 15 yards out to make it 22-0 with 3:37 left in the half.

After recovering a fumble, the Cavies quickly struck again, with Dixon hauling in a 26-yard touchdown pass from Easterday, the fourth touchdown pass of the half, to make it 29-0.

The Cavaliers couldn’t quite muster another score and the game with to halftime.

Dixon opened the second half with a kickoff return of 54 yards for a touchdown to get the Cavaliers on the board just eight seconds into the half, at 36-0.

Following a punt, Hughes picked up the ball, lateraled the ball to Dixon, who marched down the sideline some 52 yards for another touchdown, getting solid blocks along the way. It was 43-0 with 9:30 left in the third quarter.

“We work very hard on those special teams and it showed tonight,” Easterday said. “Proud of our kids – it was a heads-up play by Kyle. The punt return for a touchdown was blocked very well. Those little things help you down the road and in playoff games.”

The Cavies recovered a Roxana fumble and got their final touchdown on a 10-yard touchdown run from Ethan Wallace. Both Garrett Campbell and Hughes had been injured earlier in the game.

Roxana got its score early in the fourth quarter on a 21-yard touchdown run by Cole Liley. Chase Nasello’s two-point run made it 50-8.

The Cavaliers outgained the Shells 345-132 in total yardage, including 204-0 in passing yards.

Easterday completed nine of 12 passes with four touchdowns and one interception, for 204 yards.

Ambuel had two catches for 95 yards and a score. Dixon caught four passes for 50 yards and two scores.

Easterday had 43 yards rushing on four carries and Wallace had 40 yards on three carries for the Cavaliers.

Defensively, Max Rogers had 10 tackles, including a pair of sacks. A.J. Chapman had 13 tackles, four solo with one sack. King and Blaze Ballowe both had eight tackles.

Roxana was led by Michael Cherry with 37 yards rushing on seven carries. Wyatt Kirkpatrick had 36 yards on 11 carries.

Carlinville had 14 first downs to nine for the Shells. Carlinville did not convert a third down in four tries while Roxana was just one of eight in those scenarios.

Carlinville forced three fumbles lost by Roxana.

“It’s come a long ways,” Easterday said of reaching the halfway point of the season. “We put a new style, a new tweak on the offense to fit this personnel and it’s going very well. We have a lot of things to keep working on. I’m not sure we’ve peaked yet and that sounds really weird to say.”

Southwestern, Vandalia, Staunton and Greenville remain on the Cavaliers schedule, the middle two at home.

“There is no easy ones in the South Central,” Easterday said.