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Jefferson Forest played nearly flawless football last Friday evening.
As a result, the Cavs dominated a very good Bassett team, picking up a 38-10 victory over the homestanding Bengals in the process.
Additionally, the win ensured the Cavs would be in the post-season for the first time since 1999.
“I know (the win over Bassett) shocked some people,” said Forest Head Coach Don Rice. “Not us.”
If not shocking, what was somewhat startling was the level of near-perfection displayed by the Cavs. To wit:
-Quarterback Hunter Hannell’s 3-for-3 passing performance. While on paper, that may not be terribly awe-inspiring, each of those three passes was instrumental to the success of Forest scoring drives.
They included a 17-yard bullet to Dustin Engledove on a third-and-15; a 32 yarder to Brandon Harrison on a deep-out; and a 27 yarder to Mark Carter on a deep fade.
-A perfect night of blocking by tight end Engledove. The big fellow scored out with a score of 100 after film review. That’s something Coach Rice has never before seen. “He was knocking down the whole side of the (Bassett) line,” enthused Rice.
-Highly productive running by Desmond Goode and Rashad Hall. Taking advantage of Engledove and the rest of the offensive line, the duo posted a total of 275 yards. Goode (16/155 for 9.7 yards per carry) and Hall (17/120 for 7.1 yards per carry) combined for three touchdowns.
Not reflected in those stats is the fact that Goode had a 94-yard touchdown scoot called back for a penalty. The good news was that Goode had the chance to meet nearly every Bengal defender on the run, as they all took their shots, each deftly avoided. Not to worry, on the very next play after the penalty, Hall tacked on a 35-yard pickup.
-No (that is ZERO) Cav turnovers for the game.
-The block by Harrison Loy that not only knocked a Bengal defender into next Thursday, but also helped Carter jet to a 64-yard touchdown off a jet sweep around the left side. Carter’s blazing speed had something to do with that one, as well.
-Special teams par excellence, with return man Colby Rhodes making the Bengals pay for kicking it his way, starting with the first punt of the game. Rhodes blistered 40 yards on that one to the Bassett 15 yard line, setting up Tyler Rosser for a 5-yard run and the first score of the game.
-Kicking by Josh Storm, including a 35-yard field goal and a booming, 50-yard punt that dug JF out of a hole while only leading 17-10.
-A defense that nearly shut Bassett’s Boo Woods down for the night (well, as much as you’re likely to shut down last season’s Region IV player of the year).
Forest’s defense limited the Bengals to five first downs. While Woods did score Bassett’s sole touchdown on a 14-yard option keeper, he was limited to 12 yards on 12 carries the rest of the times he touched the ball.
Forest defensive end Zack Cox and linebacker Andrew Brown harassed Woods all evening long.
Undoubtedly, this game was the tonic the Cavs needed. After a close loss to Brookville, a forgettable defeat at Amherst and a near-miss win over Rustburg, the Cavs could have gone either way at this point.
To their credit, they came through in a big way against a very well-regarded Bassett team.
“If we play our game, we’re as good as anybody,” said Rice.
Making the long hike to Bassett and cleaning the Bengals’ clock—putting up 435 total yards on the evening—validates that assessment.