Cavaliers gun down the fourth-ranked Eagles
BY JOHN DENNY
The Clackamas Cavaliers gained a few more believers Friday night as they knocked off fourth-ranked Centennial 38-22 in a Mt. Hood Conference football game that was nowhere near as close as the final score might indicate.
When Clackamas senior tight end Alex Hern hauled in a nine-yard pass from Cavalier senior quarterback Wyatt Hutchinson with 1:39 left in the third quarter, Drew Daytons ensuing on-target PAT kick made it 38-7 Clackamas, and it was all over but the shouting.
Centennial drove for a touchdown on its first possession of the game, but it was all Clackamas most of the remainder of the game, as the Eagles didnt score again until Centennial junior running back Shawn King found the end zone from 18 yards out in the fourth quarter. King added another touchdown as he busted a 50-yard run as the game was winding down. But it proved much too little, much too late.
Clackamas broke the game open in the second frame, when the Cavaliers took advantage of Eagle miscues to put three touchdowns and a field goal on the scoreboard.
With the score tied at 7-7 and the first quarter winding down, Clackamas senior lineman Devon Riddle pounced on a bad pitch by an Eagle quarterback to gain Clackamas the ball near the midfield stripe. Thirteen plays later, Richie Mock-Seratt went one yard up the middle to the end zone, putting the Cavaliers up by a touchdown.
Near the midpoint of the second period, the Cavaliers took over on their own 35 after a punt. Four plays later, Clackamas sophomore wide receiver Cole Turner made a diving catch on a 10-yard pass for a third touchdown and a 21-7 Cavalier lead.
But the Cavaliers were just getting started. Clackamas defensive lineman Connor Daley scooped up another errant pitch and raced 20 yards to the end zone for another touchdown and a 28-7 Cavalier lead.
Two plays later, Clackamas senior linebacker Bryce Dickey picked off a pass at the Eagle 46. Hutchinson hit wide receiver David Benintendi with a 42-yard pass to the Centennial 4-yard line.
And Clackamas kicker Drew Dayton split the uprights for a 21-yard field goal as time ran out in the first half, making it 31-7 Clackamas at the intermission.
The Eagles dug themselves a hole to start the second half, as Mychael Kane mishandled the opening kickoff and was tackled at the Eagle 8-yard line.
The Cavaliers gained possession at the Eagle 38 on downs when Dickey made a tackle on a fake punt attempt.
The two teams traded punts. And seven plays later Hutchinson dodged pursing defenders and found Hern open in the end zone for his touchdown and a 38-7 Cavalier lead.
And the game belonged to Clackamas.
Centennial junior running back Jesse Porter explained the Eagles first-half letdown: We werent into it mentally.
Clackamas senior co-captain Hunter Normand explained the Cavaliers inspired play: Wed heard there were some doubters about our toughness and we wanted to proved to everyone out there that we were a force to be reckoned with. So we came out fired up in the first half and in the second quarter.
We came out fired up and with a lot of energy because of the big crowd and its homecoming, said Clackamas co-captain Josh Gay. We came out really strong and everything was working.
Our defense was prepared, said senior co-captain Bryce Dickey. Everyone did their job. Thats what youve got to do to stop the veer. And our offense executed the big plays, resulting in touchdowns.
Hutchinson and Benintendi were huge for Clackamas. Hutchinson passed for 269 yards, connecting with receivers on 17-of-28 attempted aerials; and he also ran for a touchdown.
Benintendi was Hutchinsons main target, hauling in nine passes for 202 yards.
Hutchinson and running backs Richie Mock-Seratt and Josh Gay kept the Eagle defense honest, picking up real estate on the ground when it was needed.
Dickey was a standout for Clackamas on defense, making 12 tackles, intercepting a pass, deflecting a pass and collecting the ball in traffic on an Eagle attempt at an onside kick.
That dudes an animal, Gay said of Dickey. Dickey and Cole Loboy were everywhere. And Connor Dailey, his fumble recovery for that touchdown was huge.
Junior defensive lineman Jack Buechler came through with nine tackles; Loboy made eight tackles. And senior linebacker Austin Thompson recovered a fumble deep in Cavalier territory late in the game as the Eagles were attempting to mount a comeback.
King headed the Eagle ground attack, with 14 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns.
Kane completed 5-of-13 passes for a net of 35 yards passing. He came in for starting quarterback Trevor Thornton when Thornton was sidelined by an injury early in the second quarter.
It was the second straight loss for the Eagles, who had gotten blown out by defending state champion Central Catholic 42-6 a week earlier. The Eagles (3-2, 1-2) had averaged scoring 57 points in their first three games.
Asked how the Cavaliers compared with Central Catholic, Porter said, I dont think Clackamas can handle Central Catholic at all.
I think we can handle Central Catholic, if we play really fast and furious on defense, and execute on offense, Dickey said.
All Ive got to say is were 5-0 and I think well be up to the challenge [when we play Central Catholic], said Normand. If anyones going to take them down this year and take the league title away, it would have to be us. And I say, Why not us?
With the win, the 12th-ranked Cavaliers improved to 3-0 in the Mt. Hood Conference and 5-0 on the season. Centennial slipped to 3-2 (1-2 in league) with the loss.
Its a great feeling being 5-0, especially since its our homecoming night, said Dickey. This puts us one step closer to winning the league title.
The Cavaliers could face a stiff test next Thursday (Oct. 8), when they play the always tough Oregon City Pioneers on the road.
Were in the same situation we were in last year, said Gay. We were 5-0 when we played Oregon City and they gave us our first loss. We want to go to Oregon City and win this time. Keep the streak going.
A year ago the Pioneers beat the Cavaliers 28-20 in a game played at Clackamas. Last Friday night the Pioneers (3-2, 2-1) upended Gresham 52-7.
Next up for Centennial (3-2, 1-2) is an Oct. 8 game at Barlow. The Bruins (3-2, 1-2) on Friday lost to David Douglas 27-13.