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Prep Football: This time, Cavs hold on to finish
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
Two early season losses have hardened the Caroline High School football team.
The Cavaliers lost a 17-point lead in a defeat to King William. They also saw a close game in the fourth quarter against Essex turn into a 20-point setback.
First-year head coach Jeremiah Ross has preached to his team it must play hard the entire game since those losses.
The Cavaliers did just that Friday night in a 37–21 Battlefield District homecoming victory over Eastern View.
Caroline (3–2, 2–0 Battlefield) saw its 16–0 lead cut to 23–21 in the third quarter, but answered with 14 points in the final period to seal the victory.
“We had a Come to Jesus meeting after the [Essex] game and I said that will never happen to us again under my leadership,” Ross said. “The kids have done a great job responding to that. They know we’re going to play for 48 minutes.”
Caroline senior quarterback Curtis Leacock led the way against Eastern View (2–3, 0–2) with 237 passing yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Chad Boxley added two short touchdown runs. Wide receiver Mark Rollins hauled in a 5-yard touchdown catch and also recorded an interception from his defensive back position.
Safety Joe Shifflett turned in a standout performance on defense. He made a key stop on fourth-and-1 when he tackled Eastern View running back Kendrick Kube with 3:54 left in the game and the Cavaliers nursing a 30–21 lead.
“The defense really stepped up and made plays when we needed to,” Shifflett said. “We put our offense on the field and gave us a chance to win the game.”
Sophomore defensive back Jonathan Brown also hauled in an interception for the Cavaliers. Eastern View committed four turnovers.
“We didn’t capitalize on the opportunities we had and we didn’t take care of the ball,” Cyclones coach Greg Hatfield said. “We need to do those things.”
Still, Eastern View quarterback Brandon Settle kept his team in the game. He rushed for 98 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown run to pull the Cyclones within 23-21 with 3:38 left in the third quarter.
But Caroline responded with a 1-yard touchdown run by Boxley that was set up by Ralph Tomas’ 12-yard reception. Sophomore running back Keyshawn Johnson capped the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run with 1:29 left in the game.
The Cavaliers have already won more games than each of the past three seasons when they finished 2-8 each year. They visit James Monroe Friday in a battle of the only two unbeaten teams in the district. Eastern View hosts Chancellor.
“We want respect,” Leacock said. “We worked hard all summer because we don’t want every team that play us to say ‘Oh it’s Caroline, it’s going to be an easy win.’ If you’re going to beat us, you will have to work hard because it’s going to be a fight.”
Eastern View 0 8 13 0 — 21
Caroline 16 0 7 14 — 37
Ca-M. Rollins 5-yard pass from C. Leacock (R. Williams kick)
Ca-Safety, ball snapped out of end zone
Ca-D. Pollard 35-yard pass from C. Leacock (R. Williams kick)
EV-K. Kube 3-yard run (K. Kube 2-pt run)
Ca-C. Boxley 1-yard run (R. Williams kick)
EV-J. Gardiner 7-yard pass from B. Settle (C. Bailey kick)
EV-B. Settle 15-yard run (run failed)
Ca-C. Boxley 2-yard run (R. Williams kick)
Ca-K. Johnson 5-yard run (R. Williams kick)
First downs17 15
Rushing yardage41-204 26-46
Passing yardage72 237
Rushing: Caroline—Chad Boxley 8-42, 2TD; Keyshawn Johnson 9-24, TD; Keonta Hamilton 2-9; Curtis Leacock 7-(-29). Eastern View—Brandon Settle 16-98, TD; Donte Christian 16-89; Kendrick Kube 8-20, TD; Jacob Settle 1-(-3).
Passing: Caroline—Curtis Leacock 16-36-2 237, 2TD. Eastern View—Brandon Settle 10-25-2 72, TD.
Receiving: Caroline—JaQuen Monroe 4-86; DeQuan Pollard 3-54, TD; Ralph Tomas 5-48; Bevonte Morris 3-44; Mark Rollins 1-5, TD. Eastern View—Justin Gardiner 3-37, TD; Jacob Settle 3-14; Kendall Daniels 2-12; Shaquille Robinson 1-6; Jason Blocker 1-4.
Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526