By Scott Richards
Prior to the Cavaliers’ first game this season, Coach Yates responded to the question, “What is the expectation for Caroline this year?” by stating, “Win. We are making the transition to a winning football team.”
It took the third game for Cavaliers varsity football team to fulfill what Yates said, but they did it in high fashion, defeating a strong Powhatan football team in a come from behind game 25-21 last Friday night in Milford. Undoubtedly, Powhatan reviewed films of Caroline’s previous games, but that ill prepared them for what they ran into. The Cavaliers played the game many of the fans and coaching staff knew they were capable of playing, shutting down the Indians in the second half after taking a 21-6 shellacking in the firstreet
It looked as if Caroline was going to have another one of those days as Powhatan went up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. Senior Cavalier running back Gareth Coleman added spark in the second quarter, breaking away for 76 of his total 268 rushing yards on the night. Coleman powered into the end zone cutting the Indian lead to 14-6 with 1:48 remaining into the game. The excitement was short lived as Powhatan came back and scored on an 11 yard pass play with nine seconds remaining in the half. Intermission came with the score Powhatan 21, Caroline 6.
When the second half stated, Powhatan did not play any less effectively than they did in the first half, it was a fact that Caroline played that much more aggressively. Caroline quarterback Talen Smith found himself in a position where he was not forced to past and utilized his running skills along with those of Coleman to establish the strong running game Coach Yates has worked hard to develop since coming to Caroline. Smith only attempted two passes, and only one of those was caught for no gain. Coleman credited his offensive line for his success.
“During halftime, I told the line number 56 was always in my way. In the second half, I did not see him,” commented Coleman.
The second half proved to be an offensive and defensive clinic for Powhatan. Coleman scored twice in the third quarter, first with a 46 yard touchdown run and then cut loose for a16 yards score after Powhatan tried to fake a punt but ended up with an incomplete pass. Coleman broke away on a 71 yard run that set up Smith’s 4 yard touchdown run with 4:48 on the clock in the third quarter.
The stars of the game were the Cavalier’s defense. The Indian offense came back strong in the fourth quarter with the score 25-21 in favor of Caroline. While the defensive line proved penetrating and strong, Powhatan’s offense looked as if they were going to take the game away in the fourth quarter only to be stopped on three separate trips down the field by a strong secondary. Jordyn Smith intercepted two Indian passes and Tyler Smith intercepted one. Any of the three passes caught could have changed the game.
Coach Yates told the team after the game, “They had gone beyond making good plays, they had made great plays. Both teams were tired but you kept going.”
Friday night was a transition night, as the Cavaliers became a winning team. The test of their winning ways will be this Thursday at Thomas Jefferson in Richmond, a team that has beaten Caroline each time they have played in the last two years.