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Friday Football: Passing game, then run game, lifts Bruins past Cavaliers

by Kyle McAreavy | September 17, 2023 at 1:03 a.m.
Capital City’s Cohen Davis (left) and Brooks Horton (right) make a tackle during Friday night’s game against Rock Bridge at Capital City High School. (Josh Cobb/News Tribune)

The Rock Bridge Bruins did whatever they wanted in the passing game early on.

Brady Davidson completed 16-of-19 passes for 167 yards in the first half to help the Bruins to a 10-point halftime lead.

“We were a little late starting, I feel like if we had adjusted a little bit quicker,” Capital City coach Joe Collier said. “I wanted to stop the pass and not get out perimitered in the pass game, but I didn’t want to just leave the run game and give them an edge getting 5 or 10 at a time running the ball either. Really had to figure out the best way to go about it and adjust.

“Their quarterback was accurate as all get out tonight. Brady is a good quarterback.”

But it was success in the run game that held off the Capital City Cavaliers’ comeback attempt in the second half, leading the Bruins to a 38-28 Central Missouri Activities Conference win Friday night at Capital City High School.

“They came out slinging it, they were throwing it around and playing some field basketball on us,” Collier said. “We had to get used to those guys’ speed. You can’t duplicate that. … There were things we had to adjust to schematically.”

Those defensive adjustments led to Capital City’s third comeback attempt of the season, with the final drives Friday reminiscent of the Cavaliers’ win hosting Battle in Week 2.

Down 17 points to start the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers began to storm back.

Capital City finished off a long drive started with 5:54 left in the third quarter, when Jaylen Thomas scored his 12th touchdown of the season from the 6 with 11:35 left to play. Weston Schofield continued his stretch of made extra points with his third of four kicks to bring the Cavaliers within 31-21.

Capital City’s defense set itself up for a quick three-and-out, but Rock Bridge lined up in a trick formation and was able to draw the Cavaliers offside on fourth-and-1 to get a new set of downs. But Capital City was able to force a punt after a Landen McNeil sack on third down to end the drive and continue their comeback attempt from their own 37 with 7:33 left. The sack was one of only a few pressures Capital City was able to get against Davidson all night.

“We didn’t get a pass rush most of the game,” Collier said. “… When we did cover, we didn’t get a pass rush and maybe if we got a pass rush, it was a little different.”

Five plays later, Thomas ran in his third touchdown from the 47 to bring the Cavaliers within 31-28. Thomas ended the night with 163 yards and three scores to bring him to 809 yards and 13 touchdowns through four games.

The Cavaliers seemed to make the same mistake the Jefferson City Jays did against Rock Bridge in Week 3, kicking off to Drevyn Seamon after cutting the lead to a single score. Seamon returned the kick for a touchdown against the Jays, and picked up a rolling kick at the 10 near the home sideline before juking his way all the way across the field and continuing to force missed tackles to near the Capital City goal line. But a holding call at the end of the run put the Bruins at the Capital City 14 to start the next drive.

An illegal formation call took a touchdown off the scoreboard after Rock Bridge ran in the first play, pushing the Bruins back to the 19, then Capital City got another pressure on Davidson. This one was enough to force an intentional grounding, pushing Rock Bridge back to the 31. Two stopped runs that combined for a yard made it fourth down and the Bruins attempted a 47-yard field goal, but the try was wide right, giving the Cavaliers the drive to try for the lead with 3:13 left at their own 20.

The Cavaliers got a first down, but had to go for a fourth-and-2 attempt at their own 38. They were stopped for no gain, ending the comeback attempt without the go-ahead score the Cavaliers had in both Week 1 and Week 2.

“(Rock Bridge’s) team defense was very fast and recovers very quickly,” Collier said of the difference between the Cavaliers’ first two comebacks and Friday’s attempt. “Kinda the same play that went on and those guys were able to see what was happening and recover. And their speed got them where they needed to be. They were relentless with it. … We were only able to get a couple of yards out of plays where normally against teams that don’t have that team speed, maybe we hit that and take it home.”

Rock Bridge scored on the ensuing drive when Seamon took a receiver sweep 37 yards on the second play, creating the final margin when Joey Scardina hit his fifth extra point.

Davidson ended the game 21-of-28 passing for 235 yards for the Bruins, mostly going to Devin Holt, who caught six passes for 109 yards and three touchdowns. Seamon caught five passes for 41 yards, rushed two times for 41 more and produced the big kickoff return.

Davidson was passing at will to open the game, connecting with Holt on a 34-yard deep ball down the visiting sideline on the opening drive to set up a 2-yard touchdown run from Stefan Williams, the first score of the game.

Capital City responded with a long drive, led by a 34-yard run from Evan Schaffer, who totaled 49 yards on five rushes, and helped by a 15-yard Rock Bridge penalty after a fumbled snap seemed to stall the Cavaliers on third down at the Bruins’ 34.

Thomas ran in his first touchdown from the 6 two plays later.

Davidson came out firing on the ensuing drive, connecting with Derrick Young on consecutive plays, the first for 4 yards and the second on a drag for 31 more. Then he found Seamon for a 16-yard receiver screen to get to the Cavalier 31.

He hit Will Bliss for 18 yards on a corner route, found Cooper Myers on a stop over the middle and hit Holt for a 7-yard touchdown after booting to his right with Holt running across the back of the end zone.

Davidson then went 3-for-3 on the next drive, hitting Seamon, Bliss and Holt for a combined 21 yards with a short field to set up Holt’s second score on a 7-yard fade.

Capital City marched down the field on the answer, seeming to not find the big play it has been so effective at getting through three games, until Thomas broke free for a 48-yard run. He ran free down the sideline, but was caught at the 5 by a chasing Bruin defender.

Three plays later, Phillip Richardson ran it in from the 2. Richardson ended with 11 carries for 48 yards, giving him 343 yards through four games.

Starting on their own 14 with 5:09 left, the Bruins got moving again before half.

Davidson hit pass after pass, starting 5-for-5 on the drive, finding Seamon for 16, Young for 3, Young again for 7, Young a third time for 2 and Holt for 5 to set up a first down at the Cavalier 29. But finally, two passes fell incomplete and forced a 42-yard field goal from Scardina with 1:00 left on the clock, sending the matchup into halftime with the Bruins up 24-14.

Rock Bridge extended to its 17-point advantage on its second drive after halftime, with Davidson hitting Holt on a hitch route from the Cavalier 45, then Holt juking his way into the end zone for a 45-yard score.

“They played us pretty well up front,” Collier said. “We didn’t get movement until later. We had to hit some things, keep hitting them, then we kind of got them a little bit, but not enough to really impose our will as we have in previous weeks.”

Capital City ended with 314 rushing yards on 53 attempts, while Schaffer completed 4-of-5 passes for 49 yards. The Cavaliers opened up the pass game a little more as their offense progresses through the season.

Rock Bridge ended with 336 total yards with 235 coming in the air on 21 completions, while 101 came on the ground on 27 tries.

The Cavaliers (3-1, 2-1 CMAC) will look to get a new winning streak started when they travel the 3.5 miles to Adkins Stadium to take on the Jays (2-2, 1-1 CMAC), who beat Sedalia Smith-Cotton 56-14 on Friday.


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