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In a matchup of two teams known for their love of the running game and their staunch defense, Amherst held the upper hand in both areas this past Friday night.
As a result, the Lancers hung a 35-6 pasting on the Cavs.
Cav Head Coach Don Rice was succinct in his appraisal of the game. “They whupped our butts,” said Rice. “It was our worst game of the season.”
It was an inopportune time to be a no-show. Amherst has been hitting on all cylinders, and if a team expects to beat the Lancers, it had best bring its A game.
Amherst has been called fast, athletic, talented, explosive and strong. Add another: merciless.
The Lancers racked up 35 unanswered points in the first half to rock the Cavs back on their heels.
The only bright spot, as reported, was when that halftime score was announced at the Brookville game, the cheering from the Bee faithful was as happy as if it had just been announced that gas was now a dollar a gallon on Timberlake Road.
Those Brookville folk just don’t like Forest.
But, back to the Amherst game.
The Lancers were able to score early and score often. With Forest playing it close to the line of scrimmage, the speedy Lancers were able to break free for long runs on those occasions that they were able to punch through.
Quarterback Anthony Rose scored on long jaunts during the Lancers’ first two possessions. The two runs combined for 80 yards.
Other than those two runs, the Cavs were able to keep tabs on Rose fairly well. What’s that line about “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”
Devonte Brown ended all speculation on how this one might go when he galloped 70 yards to paydirt to open the second quarter.
Even the Lancers’ only short-range touchdown, a three-yard spurt from Jamar Glover, was set up by a long gallop, 35 yards by Mario Vaughn.
The final blow was struck when the Lancers swarmed Cav punter Josh Storm and smothered his punt attempt. Sometime-quarterback Kirby Anderson scooped up the ball, cradling it into the end zone for the final points for the Lancers in the first half.
Forest picked up its points when the game was well beyond reach. Rashad Hall, having studied his Amherst colleagues, broke loose with a 45-yard dash of his own to avoid the ignominious shutout.
At the start of the season, it was fairly obvious that the Cavs had three tigers on its schedule: Pulaski, Brookville and Amherst.
Beating any one of those three, while taking care of the rest of the schedule, would guarantee Forest a Division 4 playoff berth (and most likely, a high one).
With losses to those three, hope is not lost. It does, however, cloud the waters.
Sitting at fourth (with Rockbridge at second, by the way), the Cavs still control their own destiny.
With Harrisonburg, Byrd and Broadway all within striking distance, the Cavs’ best chances lie in sweeping their last three games.
Facing a resurgent Rustburg team, with Division 3 playoff aspirations of its own, is not really the tonic the doctor ordered.
After that Red Devil matchup, the Cavs face what might be the most mystifying team in the greater area: Bassett
Then, for the finale, the Cavs get to face Liberty on the Minutemen’s home turf.
That is not the gauntlet that any team would choose for its path to the playoffs.
But, that is where the Cavs find themselves following close, tough losses to Pulaski and Brookville.
The Amherst loss, while not a tight one, is just as hard to take because of where it puts the Cavs.
What the team does from this point will surely mark its legacy.