HS Football: Cavaliers Secure First Win of the Season in District Opener Over Grizzlies

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 09/08/2023


The College Park Cavaliers (1-2) bested the Grand Oaks Grizzlies (0-3) to open up district play and clinch Head Coach Kyle Coats’ first win since taking the job.

Both teams would attempt to find their footing in the opening quarter. Grand Oaks took to the air to try and find success via big passes from their quarterback, Grant Smith. The Cavalier defense came prepared by forcing three-and-outs on every Grizzlies offensive drive.

The College Park offense found the going equally hard but used an unconventional spark to keep their most productive drive alive. A fake punt and massive carry from utility player Cole Snodgrass would keep the offense on the field, and he would cap the drive off with a touchdown reception to push the Cavalier lead to 7-0.

Coach Coats broke down the simplicity of calling the fake on the opening drive.

“We have had that in the playbook the whole time,” said Coats. “It goes back to leverage and if we see the leverage Coach Roberts has the green light.”

The Grizzlies opened the second quarter by grasping the momentum from the Cavs. On the first play from scrimmage, Grand Oaks intercepted a pass and began their march down the field. A long pass completion down to the Cavalier one-yard line and a short run inside would get the Grizzlies on the board, tying the teams at seven.

College Park would respond to the score with plays on special teams. A blocked punt on a Grand Oaks three-and-out would set up the Cavs on their opponent’s 37-yard line. With the field position favoring them, the Cavs would rumble into the endzone on the legs of running back Eugene Burnett.

The Grizzlies would misread the ensuing kickoff, allowing College Park to recover. Cavalier quarterback Kam Montgomery would use one play to reach the endzone for his second passing touchdown of the night and a quick 21-7 College Park lead.

“Any time you can get the ball back to the offense in scoring territory you have a chance to put up big points,” said Coats. “Really good opportunity where we saw a hole in the coverage and [Forke] put it where we needed it.”

The big plays would not end, as Grand Oaks would use an inside handoff to score an explosive 55-yard touchdown run. With the quick score bringing the game to within one score, the College Park offense took one last shot at scoring. The connection of Montgomery to receiver Conner Dunphy would continue to be successful, with the pair linking up for their second score to end the half up 28-14.

The Cavaliers received the kick to start the second half and began a long drive. After six minutes of runs and short passes, the College Park drive would stall, forcing the Cavs to take their points with the team’s first field goal of the season.

Like they had all game, Grand Oaks responded with a productive drive that ended with Smith finding a receiver for the team’s first passing touchdown and bringing the game to 31-21 with the Cavs still in front.

College Park would begin the fourth quarter with an immediate score. The fourth passing touchdown from Montgomery, this time to Jordan Styles, pushed the Cavalier lead to 17 on the opening play.

“Kam is a warrior,” said Coats about his quarterback. “He is one of those guys that you can depend on when you are in a foxhole. You want him when you go into battle.”

Not to be outdone, the Cavalier defense forced their first turnover of the night with an athletic interception. The Grizzlies' defense needed a stop to keep the game from getting out of hand, and they would get one with an interception off a floated throw from Montgomery.

Grand Oaks would look to their quarterback to carry the load on the ensuing drive. Grant Smith would call his number inside the red zone and rush in for his second touchdown, bringing the score to 38-28.

An interception of Montgomery would provide a window of opportunity for Grand Oaks with the clock winding down. But, just four plays later, the drive would falter as College Park would force a turnover on downs. Some kneel-downs would end the game, with the Cavaliers winning 38-28 to snag the team’s first win of the season.

The Cavaliers will take the next week to prepare for their meeting with the Cleveland Indians, while the Grizzlies will continue to search for their first win against the Caney Creek Panthers.

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