In a rivalry that had been greatly dominated by New Hope, Caledonia football impressed early on and held the Trojans offense to seven points through three quarters.
The Cavaliers made some big plays early on, countering New Hope quarterback Alex Dawkins’ 59-yard touchdown run off the game’s first play from scrimmage, building on that and gaining momentum.
However, in the second half, those long, Caledonia’s sustained drives went away, keeping the defense out for more plays and longer in general.
New Hope took full advantage, especially in the fourth quarter, where the Trojans ran for over 100 total yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns, two from LaDarius Tate alone.
“We couldn’t put anything together offensively and when you put your defense out, playing that many snaps this early in the season, that’s what going to happen,” Caledonia head coach Michael Kelly said. “Kudos to them. I thought they took advantage of our tiredness.”
This being just Week 1, Kelly hit the nail right on the head, being that the Cavaliers just had not been used to playing for that long, even through practices.
Playing another team is significantly different than playing yourself in practice, and that’s going to be the focus moving forward defensively for the Cavs.
— Alex Murphy
Jackets have something to prove after complacent second half
Nearly everything went Starkville’s way at the start of their season opener at Columbus on Friday.
A holding call on the opening kick return and two false starts backed the Falcons up to their own 1-yard line before they’d even snapped the ball. It resulted in a safety and a punt to set up the Jackets at midfield. A touchdown drive followed, and a turnover on downs courtesy of the defense gave them excellent field position deep in Falcons territory to follow up with another score.
The Jackets were up 15-0 in what felt like no time at all, and another pair of touchdowns before halftime had everyone thinking a blowout was in the works.
Huge credit to the Falcons defense for ensuring that wasn’t the case, but the Jackets were also a bit sloppy. They failed to convert first downs effectively, they couldn’t establish the run, and they suffered from drops and fumbles in their efforts to put the win away.
It was a muddy field and very much a first test for both teams, but complacency can’t become a habit for a team with championship aspirations.
— Colin Damms
Lax ball security worries Green Wave
West Point knows it was lucky to recover all four of its fumbles in Friday’s game against Louisville.
But the Green Wave know they can’t be that sloppy in the future.
“The ball came out way too many times,” junior quarterback Kahnen Daniels admitted.
Daniels accounted for two of those fumbles, losing the ball after running into teammate Ahmari Cox in the second quarter and fumbling on the first play from scrimmage in the third.
His second fumble, which followed a 9-yard run, actually worked out for the Green Wave — the ball was recovered by West Point 11 yards down the field for a first down.
But three plays later, the Green Wave fumbled a snap. Keimon Ewing also fumbled on a fourth-quarter run.
Daniels said West Point needs to work on handoff drills and communication to achieve better ball security in the weeks to come.
Even though the fumbles didn’t contribute to the Green Wave’s 24-14 loss to the Wildcats, they’ll be an area of focus as West Point prepares for a road game at Starkville.
“You’ve got to take care of the ball,” Green Wave coach Chris Chambless said. “Bottom line: You’ve got to take care of the ball.”
— Theo DeRosa