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Capital City suffers first loss, falls to Rock Bridge 38-28

by Kyle McAreavy | September 16, 2023 at 1:36 a.m.
Capital City’s Jaylen Thomas sprints with the ball toward the end zone during Friday night’s game against Rock Bridge at Capital City High School. (Josh Cobb/News Tribune)

For the second consecutive year, the Capital City Cavaliers’ undefeated start to the season ends with Rock Bridge.

The Bruins jumped ahead early and made the stop they needed late to hold off Capital City’s comeback attempt for a 38-28 Central Missouri Activities Conference win Friday at Capital City High School.

“I thought we fought, we fought a good fight,” Capital City coach Joe Collier said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way at the end.”

Rock Bridge forced a Cavalier punt on the opening drive to start on the Capital City 33-yard line, then needed only four plays to take the lead after Stefan Williams ran in a touchdown from the 2. Brady Davidson connected with Devin Holt on a third-and-13 pass for 34 yards to keep the drive alive after the Cavaliers pushed the Bruins backward on the first two plays.

Joey Scardina hit the first of his five made extra points to put the Bruins up 7-0 with 8:29 left in the first quarter.

Capital City answered quickly with a seven-play, 80-yard drive. The drive was highlighted by a 34-yard option keeper by Evan Schaffer, a 15-yard Rock Bridge penalty on third down and ended on a 6-yard Jaylen Thomas touchdown, the first of his three.

But Rock Bridge took the lead right back on its next possession, driving 85 yards on nine plays and ending when Davidson found Holt for the first of their three touchdown connections, this one from the 7. After Scardina’s kick, the Bruins led 14-7 with 2:28 left in the first.

“We really had to clean up some things in the secondary,” Collier said. “… I thought we did in the second half, we got more comfortable with what they were doing and were able to stop the bleeding a little bit. But we can’t dig ourselves a hole like that against a team like that.”

Rock Bridge then forced a Capital City three-and-out and punt, starting the next drive at the Cavalier 43 as the first quarter wound down. The Bruins put together a six-play, 43-yard drive spanning the end of the first and start of the second, with Davidson finding Holt again from the 7 to go up 21-7 with 11:13 left in the half.

Capital City was able to cut the deficit on the next drive, marching 86 yards on 11 plays -- including two fourth-down conversions -- and ending with a Phillip Richardson 2-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal. Weston Schofield hit his second of four extra points to bring the Cavaliers within 21-14 with 5:15 left in the first half.

Rock Bridge would not be denied on its next drive, putting together 11 plays to go 61 yards, but a dropped pass on third down at the Cavalier 25 set the Bruins up with a 42-yard field goal attempt, which Scardina hit to put them up 24-14 with a minute left before the break.

Capital City attempted a final scoring drive, but fell short as time expired with the deficit at 10.

“They are really technically sound,” Collier said of the Bruins. “We can’t dig ourselves a hole like that, but we gave ourselves an opportunity to come back.”

Capital City forced a Rock Bridge punt on the opening drive of the second half, but the Bruins forced a Cavalier punt right back to get the ball at their own 36 with 7:57 left in the third.

They needed a little more than two minutes to go 64 yards on six plays, ending with Davidson finding Holt on a hitch route on the right side of the field, then Holt juking his way back to the middle of the field for a 45-yard touchdown with 5:54 left.

Scardina’s kick put the Bruins up 31-14.

It was as large as the lead would get, as the cardiac Cavaliers attempted a third comeback win of the early season.

Capital City drove 80 yards on 15 plays, eating more than six minutes of clock in the process, and Thomas ran into the end zone from the 6 with 11:35 left in the game. Schofield’s kick brought the Cavaliers within 31-21.

Rock Bridge put together an extended drive, but ended up punting from their own 47 after the Cavaliers sent the Bruins back nine yards from a second-and-5 attempt, highlighted by a Landen McNeil sack on third down.

The punt didn’t travel far and the Cavaliers started their next drive at their own 37.

Five plays later, Thomas ran in a 47-yard touchdown for his third score. He would end with 163 yards on 23 attempts. Schofield’s kick cut the Bruins’ lead to 31-28 with 5:18 left to play.

The Cavaliers seemed to make a crucial mistake, with Drevyn Seamon picking up the ensuing kickoff at the 10 and returning it to near the goal line, but a holding call set the Bruins at the Capital City 14.

An illegal formation and an intentional grounding on consecutive snaps made it second-and-27 from the Capital City 31, then the Cavaliers stopped consecutive runs for one combined yard to set up a long field goal attempt. The try went wide right and the Cavaliers had their drive to try to take the lead with 3:13 remaining.

“I was really proud of the guys for taking the coaching on the fly and to keep tweaking what we needed to tweak to get ourselves back in the game,” Collier said.

But the Bruin defense stopped the Cavaliers on a fourth-and-2 from the Capital City 38, then Seamon was able to run in a wide receiver sweep for a 37-yard touchdown to seal the game.

Capital City rushed for 314 yards as a team on 53 tries, and connected on 4-of-5 passes for 49 yards.

Capital City (3-1, 2-1 CMAC) will look to get back on track next Friday when the Cavaliers travel up Stadium Boulevard to play at Jefferson City. The Jays beat Sedalia Smith-Cotton 56-14 Friday.

Rock Bridge (3-1, 3-0 CMAC) will host Helias next Friday.


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