BELL BUCKLE — A back-and-forth first half turned into a lopsided affair as the Cascade Champions struggled in the second half of their 41-14 region loss to the Richland Raiders on Friday …
BELL BUCKLE — A back-and-forth first half turned into a lopsided affair as the Cascade Champions struggled in the second half of their 41-14 region loss to the Richland Raiders on Friday night.
Turnovers and untimely penalties were the deciding factor for Champions head coach Jake Tyre.
“We were moving the ball, but we shot ourselves in the foot too many times. You can’t win playing like that,” Tyre said.
“We had a lot of turnovers and they didn’t. Richland is a good ball team, but that was the difference.”
After Richland (4-0, 2-0) tied the game at 14-14 with just over nine minutes remaining in the second quarter, Cascade (2-3, 0-2) was threatening to score and take the lead, but a fumbled handoff turned into an 82-yard scoop-and-score for the Raiders.
Richland senior Daniel Hewitt scored the tying touchdown on a 30-yard run, and recovered the fumble for consecutive scores and a 21-14 lead.
The Raiders didn’t allow a point from that point on.
Cascade surrendered the first touchdown of the game when Raiders’ running back Ethan Workman powered his way to a 21-yard score, but the Champions answered back with a scoring drive of their own.
Wide receiver Hayden Dowell gave the Champions good field position to start the drive with a kickoff return down to midfield.
Five minutes later quarterback Xamarion Dixon snuck into the end zone from a yard away, but a botched extra point turned into a failed two-point conversion which left the Champions down 7-6.
After a forced punt by the Champions’ defense on the ensuing drive, Dixon found Dowell streaking to the endzone for a 29-yard touchdown and the lead.
Dixon converted the two-point conversion that followed to make it a 14-7 ballgame.
Cascade threatened to score once more before halftime after Hewitt’s back-to-back touchdowns, but a costly interception with 26 seconds remaining ended their drive.
Richland extended their lead to 27-14 midway through the third quarter when quarterback Bryce Miller connected with Workman for a 28-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing drive, the Champions looked to threaten again as Dixon found wide receiver Chance Brown across the middle for a hefty gain, but a holding penalty negated the play to leave them with a second and long situation.
With forever to a first down, the drive ultimately resulted in a turnover-on-downs.
“We have to watch film, and see what we can do to better prepare ourselves and the team,” Tyre said of the second half woes.
“Whoever has the most turnovers and penalties is going to lose the game, and that was us tonight.”
While the Champions struggled to put points on the board, the Raiders continued to pad their lead.
Hewitt sliced his way to a 10-yard score for his third of the game with just under six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Trying to score quickly, Cascade transitioned to a no huddle offense, and pushed the ball into Richland territory before another interception handed it right back with four minutes and 44 seconds left in the contest.
Hewitt and Workman combined to score all of the Raiders’ touchdowns, including the final one with two minutes and 41 seconds left when Hewitt threw it to Workman across the middle for a 55-yard connection.
Cascade stayed in their no huddle offense in an attempt to score some quick points, but yet another interception with 50 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter put the nail in the coffin.
The Champions totaled four turnovers in the game while Richland had none.
Despite the miscues, Cascade totaled 353 yards of offense behind Dixon’s 196 total yardage and running back Connor Huie’s 102.
On the docket for next week is an opponent the Champions are very familiar with as they welcome the Community Vikings to their field for the 2022 Battle of Bedford.
“We have to come out and play next week. This game is over. We can’t do anything to change it, so we have to focus on Community this week,” Tyre said.
“It’s a big rivalry, so we have to come out and play our game.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Cascade 6 8 0 0 — 14
Richland 7 14 6 14 — 41
R — Ethan Workman 21 run, (Josh Hickman kick), 8:08.
C — Xamarion Dixon 1 run, (failed 2 pt.), 3:06.
C — Hayden Dowell 29 pass from Dixon, (Dixon 2 pt. good), 11:52.
R — Daniel Hewitt 30 run, (Hickman kick), 9:05.
R — Hewitt 82 fumble recovery, (Hickman kick), 5:41.
R — Workman 28 pass from Bryce Miller, (kick failed), 5:11.
R — Hewitt 10 rush, (Hickman kick), 5:57.
R — Workman 55 pass from Hewitt, (Hickman kick), 2:41.
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