WOODBURY— For the first time since 2013, the Cascade Champions are off to a 2-0 start following Friday night’s 25-0 shutout win at Cannon County.
For years, Cascade (2-0) has hung its hat on playing solid defense and a complementary run game — and that seems to be the winning recipe so far in 2021.
Although the defense played lights out from start till finish, the Cascade offense was spotty at times, but looked to be in prime form through the second quarter and with a strong finish in the fourth.
“The defense played great. We shut them out. We won 25-0, but I’m not satisfied and they’re not satisfied, which is good. We have to come out and play from the start, regardless of the opponent. Once we get to that point, we can be a pretty good ball team,” Champion coach Jake Tyre said.
Defensively, Cascade looked as dominant as it has in the past several seasons, allowing just 66 total yards of offense to the Lions.
Cascade had two possessions in the first quarter, the second of which pushed to the Cannon County 28-yard line before the drive stalled on fourth down.
After the turnover on downs, Cascade forced a punt, but a botched snap on fourth down during the following Cannon County drive set up the Champs up with prime real estate for the first drive of the second quarter.
Utilizing the two-quarterback system, Ryan Inmon orchestrated a drive to the Lions’ red zone, but an interception on the one-yard line gave Cannon County (0-2) a breath of life.
Two plays later, the Cascade defense broke through the Lions’ line and Sawyer Lovvorn made the tackle in the end zone for the safety with just over nine minutes left in the quarter.
With the defense putting the first points of the game on the board, Cascade took the following possession and made quick work of the Cannon County defense.
A healthy dose of runs by Conner Huie pushed Cascade to the one-yard line, where he was able to finish the drive on a one-yard touchdown run.
Drake Hodge’s successful point after put Cascade up 9-0 with 5:50 left in the half.
After the offense answered, Cascade’s defense once again came through and forced a three and out on the following Lion drive, setting up another scoring drive by the Champions.
With 3:27 left in the half, Cascade was able to capitalize off the successful run game, led by Inmon.
Of his total 60 yards Inmon rushed five times on the drive for 41 yards on the drive, which was finished off on a five-yard scamper by Dylan Crouch.
Hodge converted his second successful point after, giving the Champs a 16-0 lead at the half.
While the offense churned out 108 yards in the second quarter, both Cascade and Cannon County struggled to find their offensive footing in the third quarter, totaling a combined 23 yards of offense.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Cascade punted from its own 12-yard line, but a muffed return by the Lions allowed Cascade to recover and return the ball to the Cannon County 36.
A personal foul, however, pushed Cascade back to its own 41-yard line.
Even with the penalty backing up Cascade, Cascade was able to once again press into the Lions’ red zone.
A pair of incompletions prompted Tyre to opt for a 41-yard field goal by Hodge, which he in turn split the uprights on with seven minutes left.
Hodge took the following kickoff and recorded his second touchback of the night, giving the Lions the ball on the 20.
The very next play, Cascade’s defense came through again with an interception by Taylor Dowell, which gave Cascade the ball on the 33-yard line.
That drive ended on a blocked field goal attempt.
Even with the blocked 44-yard attempt, Dowell recorded his second interception of the game two plays later, setting up the final scoring drive of the night.
With Dowell’s interception that was returned to the Lions’ 10-yard line, senior quarterback Elijah Arnold connected with Lovvorn for an eight-yard touchdown pass for the final score of the night.
In total, Cannon County managed just 66 total yards of offense against a stingy Champion defense.
Cascade also did not allow a single pass completion by the Lions.
Cascade, by contrast, totaled 205 yards of offense, with 170 coming on the ground.
Huie led the ground attack with 86 yards on 20 carries, while Inmon chipped in 60 yards on nine touches.
“Conner did a great job. That’s two weeks in a row he’s done a really great job playing fullback. He had most of our offense,” Tyre said.
Arnold completed three passes for 35 yards and a touchdown to his credit as well.
Defensively, Dowell, along with Austin Powell and Lovvorn recorded three tackles apiece.
While the win moves Cascade to 2-0 on this season, Tyre says his team has shown flashes of what the Champions are capable of, but have to put together all four quarters to compete for a region title.
“In the second and fourth quarter we were good. We have to get all four quarters together,” he said.
Through two quarters, Cascade has outscored its opponents 54-0, but will have a tough task against the region opener at Mt. Pleasant this week.
“They work hard and come to work every day. They believe what we can do and the potential we have this year,” he said.
Mt. Pleasant will host Cascade on Friday night in the Region 5-AA opener.
Mt. Pleasant is 1-1 this season, having dropped the season opener to East Hickman, 35-21, but winning against Scotts Hill last week, 28-7.
Cascade 0 16 0 9 – 25
Cannon Co. 0 0 0 0 – 0
C – Sawyer Lovvorn Safety, 9:02.
C – Conner Huie 1 run, (Drake Hodge kick), 5:50.
C – Dylan Crouch 5 run, (Hodge kick), :28.
C – Hodge 41 field goal, (7:00).
C – Lovvorn 8 pass from Elijah Arnold (2pt. pass failed).