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Resurgent Rustburg clobbers Cavs

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JF defenseless in 61-35 defeat

By Mike Forster

  "The opposite of tackling."

We're not sure what the exact term for it is, but there was sure a lot of the opposite of tackling going on by the Jefferson Forest defense Friday night.

As a result, a Rustburg team with nothing to play for beat the tar out of the playoff-bound Cavaliers.  When the clock finally read 00:00, the rest of the scoreboard read:  Home 61, Guest 35.

Rick Wallin, who fires the Rustburg cannon whenever the Red Devils score, must have felt like an artilleryman at Waterloo, he was so busy.

Wallin lit the fuse on nine separate occasions, as the Red Devils became the third team this season to hang 60+ points on the Cavs.

"JF is a good team," said Rustburg Head Coach Jon Berlin.  "We expected a score-fest."

It's not clear whether Berlin expected the fest to be at this magnitude.  Or Wallin, for that part, who'll have to restock his cannon ammo now.

"This has to be the worst defensive effort a JF team has given," said Head Coach Don Rice, in underscoring the obvious.  "It is mind blowing."

Rice's crew put on a clinic, if anyone wanted one, on arm tackling, over-pursuing and missing assignments.  With a team as speedy and explosive as Rustburg, that's a recipe for disaster.

The misery started for the Cavs in the first minute of the game.  That's when Rustburg linebacker CT Tweedy picked off a screen pass and ran 61 yards to the JF five yard line.

Two plays later, Randall Jones punched it into the end zone.

The JF defense had one of its few fine moments on Rustburg's next possession.  On fourth-and-one, from the JF 45, Lucas Pribble and AJ Zellars teamed up to thwart the quarterback keeper.

JF got the ball and Ryan Crist led an eight-play drive that ended when the quarterback found Cody Loveday all alone in the end zone on a 13-yard play action pass.

Rustburg responded with a 12-play drive, with Anthony Lovelace scoring on an eight yard sweep.  Lovelace was basically untouched.

After a JF fumble (recovered by Martez Charlton) put Rustburg in business on the Cav 32, the Rusties took little time to put the tater in the end zone.  This time, it was Tweedy who did the honors.

JF hung in there.  On its subsequent possession, David Aveson swept left, punched through the line and cut against the grain on a mad dash that had the tailback closing the gap to 21-14 with his 63-yard tally.

That state of euphoria lasted exactly 14 seconds.  That's because Lovelace took the ensuing kickoff and returned it straight down the left sideline.  At this point, Lovelace must have been feeling a bit like Elliott Ness, for he was one of the Untouchables.

He and his Red Devil mates also had a 28-14 lead.

For good measure, the Rusties logged another score just before halftime.  Following Brent Thacker's diving catch of a 35-yard toss, Rustburg had a first-and-goal with 54 seconds remaining.

JF made three big stops, including ones by Pribble and Garrett Neal.  On fourth down, however, Jones (who had been swapping quarterback and halfback duties with Lovelace) scored on the keeper to make it 34-14 at the gun.

It was unclear whether JF was more unnerved by what the scoreboard read or by seeing Crist out of the game with an injured shoulder.

The second half was more of the same.  Rustburg took the opening kickoff and needed six plays (and a JF facemasking penalty) to put up another seven points.

Rustburg never let its foot off the gas and JF just couldn't seem to stop them.

 

Notes

-Aveson was, easily, the bright light for Jefferson Forest.  Despite cramping in his legs, the junior rushed for 226 yards on the evening.  That gives him 765 for the year.

-JF's other scores came from Aveson (five-yard sweep, one-yard dive) and Jesse Stevens (two-yard-plunge).

-Crist went over the 1500 passing yard mark for the season.  He is likely to be OK for the Glass game.

-This was Lovelace's second game back after being injured in the Prince Edward game (the fourth of the year).  Is it any wonder that Rustburg went 0-4 in his absence?

-If not for a one-point, overtime loss to E.C. Glass, Rustburg would be a part of the post-season.  "You've got to win the close games," said Berlin.  "We are in the toughest district in the state."

-Thacker had two interceptions with long returns, which set up Rusty touchdowns.

-Rustburg will only graduate seven players from this year's roster.