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Friday Football: Capital City offense scores in hurry and often vs. Hickman

by Kyle McAreavy | September 10, 2023 at 12:29 a.m.
Capital City players celebrate after Friday night's win against Hickman in Columbia. (Kyle McAreavy/News Tribune)

COLUMBIA -- Normally, a lack of possession time would be a bad sign.

It was a great one for the Capital City Cavaliers on Friday.

The Cavaliers struck fast and often on their way to a 59-14 Central Missouri Activities Conference win against the Hickman Kewpies.

“If you’ve seen the first two games, our first drive, we hit big runs,” Capital City coach Joe Collier said. “It got called back last week (against Battle), but we hit big runs. We can score at a high clip. It showed tonight, if we don’t hurt ourselves, we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot, we can score points.”

Capital City needed only two plays on its first drive to score. After an incomplete pass, Phillip Richardson took a handoff up the middle, cut right in the second level and went 67 yards untouched on the way to a Cavalier touchdown.

The drive took 16 seconds off the game clock.

Battle responded with an 85-yard passing touchdown on the ensuing drive, but the 84 net yards on the drive made up more than 40 percent of the Kewpies’ total yards. Hickman gained only 202 yards for the game.

The Cavaliers once again needed only two plays to reach the end zone in response.

Jaylen Thomas took his first carry 22 yards, then Richardson took his second touch for his second score, this one a 41-yard carry, to put the Cavaliers back in front.

Capital City’s second drive took 24 seconds off the game clock.

The Cavalier defense was able to force a turnover on downs, getting Capital City the ball back on its own 22, then Thomas needed only one play for a 78-yard touchdown.

This time, 10 seconds came off the game clock.

After a three-and-out and a Hickman punt -- including a great return from Demarkus Lyddon-Allen that was brought partially back because of a penalty -- the Cavaliers’ started on the Kewpies’ 30.

One play later, Nehemiah Hamilton scored a 30-yard touchdown with 7 seconds coming off the clock.

“We had focus as coach Collier was telling us all week, we were playing as a team and I had great blocking by my O-line the whole game,” Hamilton said.

In all, the Cavaliers ran six offensive plays, scored four touchdowns and ran 52 seconds of game clock on the way to a 28-8 lead after the first quarter.

With some help from Hickman, the Cavaliers reversed the possession time fortune in the second half.

Capital City got its first possession after the break with 11:52 on the clock and ran it down to 7:15 on a nine-play, 48-yard drive.

There was a scary moment midway through the series as Thomas, Hamilton and Marcus Driver all exited with injuries, but all three would return before the end of the first half.

Sophomore quarterback Evan Schaffer, starting his first game after leading the Cavaliers’ two comebacks in the first two weeks, ended the drive with Capital City’s first passing touchdown of the season, finding Isaak Nelson on the right seem for a 6-yard score.

“That’s the natural progression of our offense,” Collier said of getting the pass game more involved after throwing only one attempt in the first two weeks. “That’s what we envisioned. We have good receivers, we have quarterbacks who can get them the ball. We’re gonna control the ball, control the line of scrimmage, but then we’re gonna get the ball out to the perimeter to our receivers.”

Only four seconds ran off the clock before Capital City got the ball back, with Hickman fumbling the ensuing kickoff and the Cavaliers’ recovering at the Kewpies’ 18.

Capital City marched slowly, using six plays to gain the necessary yardage, ending with Hamilton’s second touchdown, this one coming from the 3.

“We’ve got guys in the backfield that can do great things, props to Jaylen and Phillip. Cohen (Davis) did his thing, too,” Hamilton said.

The Cavalier defense forced another three-and-out and an attempted Kewpie punt, but the snap was fumbled and the punter tried to take off, but was tackled for a 4-yard loss, giving the Cavaliers’ another drive starting at the Hickman 18 with 1:59 left in the half.

Capital City ran off the remaining time, with Weston Schofield nailing a 31-yard field goal as the clock ran out to take a 45-8 lead into halftime. In all, Schofield would go 8-for-8 on extra points to go with his made field goal.

After their 52-second possession time in the first quarter, the Cavaliers held possession for nearly 10 minutes of the second quarter.

The Cavaliers kept the pedal down to start the second half, receiving the opening kick and leaving Thomas in to run in a 40-yard score, his ninth touchdown of the season, with 8:32 left to put Capital City up 52-8.

Then the second team came in, leading the Cavaliers to a four-play, 26-yard drive culminating in a Cohen Davis 14-yard rushing touchdown, his first of the season.

“They’ve been patient,” Collier said of the second team offense getting its first consistent game reps. “We’ve been inconsistent with the ball over and over. We haven’t had the success that we thought we would early on. To get those guys in and for them to be patient, for those guys to finally get in, it’s special to me. I’m so happy for them.”

It was the Cavaliers’ final score with 1:57 left in the third and a running clock. Capital City possessed the ball for less than three minutes in the fourth.

“It feels great, but after today we’ve got to get locked in because we’ve got Rock Bridge next week and it’s going to be a tough game,” Hamilton said.

After losing six fumbles, and dropping the ball 10 times against Battle in Week 2, the Cavaliers had only one loose ball Friday and recovered it themselves, leading to Capital City scoring on all seven of its first-half drives and its first two in the second half before fully replacing the starting offense.

Capital City’s defense kept up its superb start to the season, allowing only 11 rushing yards on 23 attempts and a 12-of-23 day passing combined for the Kewpies. Starting quarterback Carter Holliday completing 10-of-21 and backup Bredun Bursey going 2-for-2 for 45 yards and a touchdown on the Kewpies’ final drive.

Capital City (3-0, 2-0 CMAC) will try to beat its program record for best start to a season, set last year at 3-0, when it hosts Rock Bridge (2-1, 2-0 CMAC) at 7 p.m. Friday. Rock Bridge held on to beat Jefferson City 35-27 on Friday.


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