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Jefferson Forest Head Coach Don Rice often says he's just as happy with a 2-0 win as he is with any other score.
The coach also often responds to queries about his team's goals by stating that they are to go unbeaten, win the Seminole and win States - just as they are every years.
Well, check one and check two.
Rice's Cavs picked up a close win and stayed unbeaten at this early stage of the year. JF topped Bassett by the score of 19-15 at Sabre Stadium.
The win was the second of the year in which the Cavs came back from a first-half deficit. It was also the first game in this young season in which the vaunted JF defense made its mark.
Once again, the Cavs entered the fray absent a key component: tailback Michael Foster remained on the IR list.
Fellow running back Jesse Stevens, however, did his part for the team.
Stevens posted JF's first tally of the evening. Quarterback Ryan Crist engineered an opening drive that positioned the Cavs on the Bengal 13-yard line.
From there, Stevens bulled his way in off a straight dive play. David Jacobs, who had been a perfect 11-for-11 on PAT's missed his first of the season, just wide to the left.
Bassett showed that it has some fuel in the tank, responding with a quick first quarter drive that ended with senior tailback Tra Ross jetting in from 23 yards out.
Senior McKenzie Lawson went on a 45-yard gallop to open things up in the Bengals' favor. He then tacked on a run into the end zone for a two-point conversion, making it 15-6, Bassett.
The Jeff Forest defense came to life, however, toward the end of the first half. Sophomore linebacker Jason Ayers nailed a Bassett ballcarrier, forcing a fumble.
Sophomore Chris Tidwell pounced on the loose ball in the end zone. In a scene straight out of any lineman's dream, Tidwell saw six points added to the JF side of the scoreboard. Tidwell also moved up to seventh place on the JF scoring leaders chart. Not bad for the 245-pound sophomore.
The only scoring in the second half came when JF struck in the fourth quarter. David Aveson rushed for only three yards in the game. But one of those yards proved the difference, as Aveson hit the end zone on a dive play to finally give JF back the lead, 19-15.
Bassett went almost exclusively to the air in trying to gain back their edge.
But the JF secondary proved too strong on this night. Among the standouts in the defensive backfield were Camden BeCraft and Taylor Bell. That second guy picked off one pass and nearly had another INT that had six points written all over it. It was just out of grasp, however, and Bell's deflection kept the Bengals down.
Other defensive stalwarts included linebackers Ayers and Garrett Neal.
Ayers racked up 10 tackles (two for loss). Neal, roaming from his middle linebacker slot, had six tackles and two assists.
Lucas Pribble added a fumble recovery to the mix.
In all, the JF defense limited the Bengals to 211 total yards; only 36 came via the pass.
JF had a balanced attack, with Stevens rushing 25 times for 133 yards and Crist tossing 12 completions for 120 yards.
Cody Loveday nabbed five catches for 56 of those yards.