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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Champs hit road as playoffs open

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sophomore running back Creed Rose has been the heart and soul of the Champion run game this year. Cascade will look to put the ball in his hands tonight.
(T-G File Photo by Chris Siers) [Order this photo]
It's been a relatively rough close to the regular season for the Cascade Champions (6-4, 3-3 9-A) having only won one of their last four games.

The latest tough loss the Champs were dealt was last Friday night in a 28-6 loss to the Eagleville Eagles.

But with the regular season in the rearview mirror, the Champs have a chance to turn the page and get ready for a new season where it's win or go home.

And they're not ready to go home.

"We just had some unfortunate miscues and Eagleville capitalized on them," said Cascade coach Kenny Parker.

Those miscues included four crucial turnovers that led to 21 Eagle points last week.

Working it out

But after a solid week of practice, Parker feels the team has worked out the kinks and set themselves up for a strong showing against the Watertown Purple Tigers (7-3, 5-3 7A) in Friday's opening round of the 2A TSSAA state playoffs.

"We always work on ball security, but sometimes things happen. Unfortunately two of them (turnovers) happened behind the line of scrimmage the guy was able to return them for touchdowns," Parker said.

"I thought our kids battled back and performed well in the second half. We have to carry that momentum into this week."

Watertown comes into the postseason with an impressive track record against some of the best teams in the state.

In order for Cascade to put itself in position for a win, Parker feels the team has to make a statement and come up with points in the early in Friday's opening round of the TSSAA playoffs.

"We want to come out and play well. Watertown has a good football team. They remind me a lot of Mount Pleasant. They have a good QB and good receivers and they have some other weapons. It's going to be a challenge with a team that's predominantly senior based," Parker said.

Freshman signal caller Chandler Sulcer has to perform tonight well to help keep Cascade's balanced offense in line.
(T-G File Photo by Chris Siers) [Order this photo]
Watertown stats

Watertown enters the Friday's game scoring an average of 34.7 points per game while giving up 28.3.

Much like the Champs, the Purple Tigers have dropped three of their last four games, two of which include being shut out to Gordonsville (48-0) and Trousdale County (28-0).

"It's going to be a challenge. The only games they've lost have been against some good football teams," Parker said.

While Watertown boasts of a veteran team playing in one of the state's top 1A districts, Cascade has felt its share of growing pains with a mostly young roster.

Despite those mistakes, Parker feels each week his team has gotten better and better and learned from the mistakes.

"We're getting better. We make young mistakes at the wrong time, but hopefully we can minimize those this week. I'd like for us to create some turnovers. I felt like we played well in the second half (against Eagleville). We really played a good game against a team that was well-balanced. I like the way our defense is playing right now," he said.

Strong D

Cascade's defense has indeed been formidable lately. Just last week, the Champs gave up just one score on defense, the other three of which coming off turnovers.

Two of those turnovers came from freshman quarterback Chandler Sucler. But like the rest of the team, Sulcer has bounced back with a solid week of practice and has put last week behind him.

"He's had a pretty good week this week. I think he felt bad after the first turnover. The first pass he threw Friday night was a great throw. He has to learn how to shake it off," Parker said.

Despite being just a freshman, Sulcer has evolved into a dependable passing threat when needed.

Two weeks ago against the Forrest Rockets, he completed 12-of-17 pass attempts for 238 yards.

"I think he'll respond well this week," Parker said.

Cascade will also look to give star running back Creed Rose his chance to see some postseason play, despite a lingering leg injury.

Last week, Rose managed 170 yards on 28 touches against the Eagles. He will be a key component to counteract the Purple Tigers' veteran roster.

The conditions are right, but Cascade will have to maximize on the opportunities and minimize the miscues in order to keep the season alive.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Watertown tonight.

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