Cascade falters in the crunch at Huntland
HUNTLAND -- The first plays of each half were a microcosm of how Friday night went for Cascade in their 20-0 non-region loss to area rival Huntland.
The Champions fumbled but recovered the game's opening kickoff.
Huntland senior Adonte Taylor returned a kick 87 yards for a touchdown to start the second half of play.
Much of the night the Cascade coaching staff barked out to their players what Huntland was running offensively and who would get the ball. Time after time their foreshadowing was proven correct, but the Champs didn't take full advantage.
"We knew all week their tendencies and we showed it to them," Cascade coach Kenny Parker said. "I told them going into the week that we had to take the fullback out of the game. We just didn't get him stopped. If they get that fullback established, they're pretty tough."
Established is an understatement of how Hornet senior Bubba McCowan's night went. He carried the ball 15 times and accumulated 152 yards, including touchdown runs of 12 and 1 yards.
"We let (McCowan) beat us," Parker said. "They've got a stable of good backs but you've got to stop the fullback."
Parker complimented the game plan on both sides of the ball but the timeliness of mental breakdowns was extremely detrimental to Cascade's ability to put points on the board.
"They outplayed us and executed," Parker said. "We didn't play bad at times. We just didn't play a complete game. We had too many breakdowns in crucial situations.
"We've got to play better. We missed too many assignments at the wrong times."
The first Champion possession stalled at their own 44-yard line as senior tailback Mitchell Petty was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-one.
The second time out for their offense showed a similar result as sophomore fullback Cory Phillips was tackled for no gain on fourth-and-one at the Huntland 26.
"We mess up too much on third-and-short and fourth-and-short," Parker said. "We just miss assignments."
The Champion offense moved the ball well most of the game but never got the big play when they needed it.
After sophomore cornerback Albert Hatchett blocked a punt in Hornet territory early in the fourth quarter, Petty was again stopped for no gain on fourth-and-two from the Huntland 10-yard line.
Cascade's final attempt to score was squandered as sophomore quarterback Kyle Adcock didn't get the exchange from center cleanly and the Hornets recovered the fumble at their own 2.
"We're just searching," said Parker, whose team is 1-2 overall but still 1-0 in Region 5-A. "We're young. We played seven sophomores on one side of the ball and six sophomores on the other. But, it's time for us to grow up.
"They played nine seniors on both sides of the ball. They're experienced. I knew they were going to be. That was a concern.
"But, our young guys, we've got to step up. We've got to play them. We're banged up a little bit. They've got to step up. Some of these guys we've been counting on all year last year have got to step up too."
The Champs played without starting junior tailback Patrick Hasty and junior lineman Daniel Tucker.
The Hornets (2-1) dominated the ground game, rushing 37 times for 244 yards, an average of 6.6 yards per carry. Cascade ran for 125 yards on 44 carries (2.8 per carry).
Junior quarterback Levi Bain combined with Adcock to complete 9-of-14 passes for 84 yards. Huntland was 0-for-4 passing.
Senior Maverick Green led Cascade with eight tackles. Freshman Hunter Forsythe and junior Tyler Bowman had seven tackles apiece.
The Champs were penalized three times for 20 yards while Huntland saw five flags for 50 yards.