Cavies grind out season opening win on the road

Cavies grind out season opening win on the

Having a 21-0 lead cut to 28-24 midway through the third quarter did not deter the Carlinville football team Friday night.

Playing on the road against a team picked by many to be a sleeper in the South Central Conference this year, the Cavies fast-paced offense picked up the pace with 20 unanswered points to end the game, resulting in a 48-24 victory at Charles Raich Jr. Field. Carlinville won for the 12th straight year against Roxana and is 17-2 in their last 19 against the Shells.

Brady Jamieson caught four touchdown passes from AdamWalton as the Cavaliers eventually pulled away.

“I really thought they did a good job tonight of keeping their composure,” said Cavies head coach Chad Easterday. “As the tides changed throughout the game, we changed with it.”

Roxana went three and out to start and Jacob Dixon then returned the punt all the way for a touchdown but it was negated by penalty. The Cavs did march 73 yards in 11 plays on their first drive of the season. Jamieson caught a 10-yard pass from Walton and a -0 lead midway through the first quarter.

Roxana turned the ball over three times in the game while the Cavaliers did not have a turnover. The Cavs capitalized late in the first quarter with a 65-yard drive to push the score to 14-0. Brady Egelhoff got around the left side of the line and bullied his way down the sidelines 46 yards for a score.

Another 65-yard drive on the Cavies next possession gave them a three-score advantage.

Walton connected with Blake Richardson on a 13-yard pass play on fourth down and two to keep the drive alive deep in Shells territory. Dixon scored from a yard out to make it 21-0.

Roxana finally mounted a drive of their own, getting on the board with 1:50 left in the half, as Trey Kelley ran it in from six yards out capping a 55-yard drive in eight plays.

The teams combined for five touchdowns during a busy third quarter of play. The Cavs went 56 yards in five plays. Jamieson’s six-yard touchdown pass made it 28-8.

Then the Shells made their move two drives later after a Carlinville punt. They drove 80 yards in just five plays, getting a 34-yard touchdown run from Blake Vandiver to make it 28-16.

The Cavies went for it on fourth down midway through the third quarter near midfield, but was stuffed for a loss and turned the ball over on downs at their own 44 yard-line. Two plays later, Vandiver caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Chance Foss, and with the Shells’ third two-point conversion of the night, it was down to 28-24 with 5:20 left in the third quarter.

“Running that no-huddle offense, I’m not sure our kids know any different than to go fast,” Easterday said. “Sometimes those momentum swings don’t affect us. With some young kids we were worried about it. We are able to come up with a big play.”

But the remainder of the game swung back in Carlinville’s favor. A 60-yard drive begun with a 47-yard pass play from Walton to Dixon. On fourth down and nine, Walton connected with Jamieson on a 12-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 34-24.

Chandler Seago then picked off a Foss pass across the middle of the field and returned it 30 yards to the Roxana 34-yard line. The Cavies again capitalized as they scored eight plays later on a five-yard touchdown pass from Walton to Jamieson. It was 41-24 after three quarters.

Carlinville’s defense forced three loss of downs against Roxana on fourth down conversion attempts in the fourth quarter, and put the game away with Dixon’s four-yard touchdown run, just two plays after picking up 38 yards on a run. That came with 4:29 left to play.

Dixon finished with 138 yards rushing on 24 carries. Egelhoff, who injured an ankle twice in the game, still finished with 95 yards on 16 carries.

Walton completed 14 of 18 passes for 170 yards and four scores. Jamieson caught seven passes for 66 yards and four touchdowns. Dixon added two catches for 66 yards and Richardson added 27 yards on three catches.

But stopping Roxana’s offense was something Easterday said is not an easy chore.

“They run a great offense – I love it,” Easterday said of Roxana. “It’s a system of plays and it’s hard to stop. You don’t stop it – you contain it.”

Vandiver finished with 96 yards rushing on 15 carries for the Shells. Foss completed 6 of 17 passes for 112 yards, one touchdown and one pick. Vandiver also had four catches for 50 yards.

Defensively, Dylan Chism had 14 total tackles, two for losses. Matt Bolomey added nine tackles. Bolomey and Seth Egelhoff both had fumble recoveries.

Walton, replacing Joeb Easterday under center for the Cavaliers, ran an offense that didn’t seem to miss a beat.

“He made some great reads I thought,” Easterday said. “He put the ball on the money. Every ball was catchable, I thought.”

However, it was later learned that Walton broke his collarbone late in the game and will miss the next few weeks. It’s possible he could return late in the season, Easterday said. Walton’s replacement will be determined in practice this week, the coach added.

The Cavs had 20 first downs to 11 for Roxana, and had five penalties for 50 yards. The Shells were penalized eight times for 65 yards. Carlinville had a slight time of possession edge.

The Cavies also had an advantage with the line play as well.

“I know they had some youth on the line coming in and that was a question mark for them,” Easterday said. “We returned three and a half kids. I thought they did a good job in the third quarter of waring on them and just being able to run some base plays and make life complicated for them.”

The Cavies gear up for the home opener against Vandalia Friday night at 7 p.m.