Cavs have taken tough road to CFVC play
After a harsh non-conference gauntlet, which included three squads which are still undefeated headed into week six of the high school football slate, Southern Lee travels tonight to face Douglas Byrd in the Cape Fear Valley opener for the Cavaliers (1-4) and Eagles (3-2).
Douglas Byrd is one of the three defending champs of the CFVC. The Eagles boast a balanced offensive attack and a defense which likes making stops in the backfield and creating lots of turnovers.
New Cavalier head coach Don Simon believes the road the Cavs have already faced this season will serve them well now that they have six straight Cape Fear Valley games.
"I think we're looking forward to conference play. In the grand scheme of things, this is when things really matter," Simon said.
The Cavaliers have faced opposition adding up to an 18-5 record heading into tonight's games. Northwood (4-0) beat the Cavs 56-31 in week two. Triton (5-0) won 37-21 at Cavalier Stadium two Fridays ago. Pinecrest (5-0) beat the Cavaliers 56-20 last week.
Southern Lee had chances to take an early lead against Pinecrest before the Patriot running game became too much to handle. The Cavaliers led 21-19 at halftime against Triton.
"Facing all these undefeated teams, we're looking at it as a good thing. We're becoming battle-tested," Simon said.
The competition, then taking the film and lessons to practice the following week, is making the Cavaliers better, said their coach. Turning the positives into a better record is the key now with conference games at hand.
"We're getting better each week, but we've been facing better competition every week," said Simon.
Quarterback Emond Caldwell and wide receiver Aaron Blockmon are among the state leaders in yardage, with Blockmon leading the state in receiving yards with 887 and nine touchdowns in 39 receptions.
Taking some of the pressure off Caldwell and Blockmon, with more of a ground attack, has worked against Triton and Pinecrest.
"One thing we've improved on is, in the last couple of games, we've been able to run the ball to add to our passing," Simon said.
The Cavaliers, now up to averaging 126 rushing yards a game, gained more on the ground than via passing versus the Patriots. Junior Monte McLean leads the Cavalier backs with 50 carries for 188 yards on the season.
"It keeps drives going. It helps keep our defense off the field," Simon said. "It's something we'll need to carry us through the conference."
The Cavaliers face an Eagle defense which has totaled 15 sacks and 14 turnovers (five interceptions and nine fumbles) in five games. Douglas Byrd beat Seventy-First 19-0 last week.
Offensively, Douglas Byrd has rushed for 884 yards on the season and passed for 878 yards. Five-foot-4, 140-pound running back/returner/punter Alonzo Hurtado has 84 carries for 542 yards and six touchdowns for the Eagles. Senior quarterback Elijah Bulger is 71-for-124 passing with seven touchdowns and five interceptions.