It would prove to be a difficult task, as a determined Cadet defense shut out the Clovers 14-0. While the Clover defense was not easy to break down either, a three-play, 65-yard drive to start the second half and a pick-six created enough points for the home side to celebrate in style.
Cloverdale opened the contest with a 39-yard pass from quarterback Jordan Brinkman to Trevor Lockwood, only to be slowed by a loss on the following first down play. The series ended on a completed pass that did not gain enough yardage for a first down.
The big play followed by yards lost on the next snap combo became a recurring theme throughout the night.
While the Cadets held ball for the majority of the first half, Cloverdale's defense was able to keep turning them away from the end zone. Cascade's first drive of the half, one that was extended by a muffed punt, saw them get as close as the 9-yard line of the Clovers before an incomplete pass on fourth and five gave the ball back to the visitors.
The drive was more notable, however, for a lengthy injury delay as Cloverdale junior lineman Brian Dale was stretchered off the field with a knee injury. While the Clovers were able to plug his spot with issue, it was a blow to an offensive line that struggled at times to keep Cascade out of the backfield.
Ball control was also a major issue for the Clovers. With two turnovers in the first half, along with a couple of errant snaps and missed option passes, Cloverdale couldn't keep possession long enough to get a decent drive going.
Fortunately, the defense held out strong again at the end of the half, stonewalling Cascade's last drive at the 16 yard line before halftime and keeping the score level at 0-0.
After the pomp and pageantry of homecoming finished, the Cadets came out with a purpose.
After the opening kickoff of the second half went out of bounds, all Cascade needed was three plays and 40 seconds to finally get points on the board. Eric Bobidilla started off with an 11-yard run for the Cadets, who featured a triple-option attack for most of the game.
The following play saw Colin Smith and Alex Arthur combine for a 49-yard run. Quarterback Smith faked the handoff to Bobidilla before swinging out to the right and flying down the Cascade sideline. About 25 yards into the run, the Clover defense finally caught him, but Arthur, who stayed right next to Smith, took the option pitch and added 24 more yards before finally being dragged down at the Cloverdale five-yard line.
From there, Smith went straight up the middle for the first six points of the game and after the extra point was converted by backup place kicker Micheal Bodeker, the hosts led 7-0.
Cloverdale responded by hammering the Cadets with the one-two punch of Donavan Scisney and Jeff Couse. Scisney in particular was giving the Cadets fits and gained 30 yards on the next Clover possession. It too, however, ended after a loss of yardage on first down led to a turnover on downs.
After a quick three and out, the Clovers began to move again. After calling a time out before a third and 14 play, Clover quarterback Jordan Brinkman was hit as he threw the ball and the errant pass ended up in the hands of senior Zach Baldwin. The Cadet linebacker took the ball 65 yards the other way and in to extend the Cascade lead to 14-0.
Cloverdale was visibly deflated after the second score and would not get any closer to scoring than the Cascade 37. Unable to gather any momentum, the Clovers watched as the Cadets ran out the clock and celebrated the win.
Cloverdale head coach Kyle Winkler, visibly frustrated after the contest, knew exactly why his team was on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
"I would characterize the game as many mental mistakes by the Clovers," Winkler said. "We did not do anything correctly on special teams. We fumbled the ball, we didn't pick up the ball, let it hit the ground and roll all the way to the 2-yard line. We had guys missing blocking assignments, not blocking until the whistle. Our guys did not want to play at the start of the game."
"Going into halftime it was nothing-nothing. We come out on defense and the very first place our defense does the opposite of what we tell them in practice to do. We can't tackle the quarterback, who was very good, he pitches it and they run it all the way down the sideline. Next play, they score."
"On the interception, once again, a couple of problems up front, bad play calling, I guess. I don't know. We didn't execute. They get the interception, take it all the way to the house. It's 14-0 and that's the ballgame," Winkler added.
Winkler also addressed the health of Brian Dale afterwards.
"Well, I walked out on the field and see his kneecap on the side of his leg and realize it's not a very good thing. From the initial reports, it's a dislocated kneecap. He's going to be out for a while."
The schedule only gets more difficult as the Clovers begin a three game swing through the county schools, starting with South Putnam next Friday.
"I know they're going to come out and hit us in the face because all they have to do is watch the films where we got hit in the face and they're going to say, our D-line and our O-Line is going to win this game up front if their O-line and D-line does what they did against Monrovia and Cascade," Winkler said.
The preparation for this week may be more intense than usual.
"We're going to do a lot of tackling, do a lot of blocking and were going to have some interesting practices this week. We're going to get the special teams definitely squared away because we're going to find people who can catch the ball and we're going to execute. I said we're going to go out there and hit them cause we haven't hit anybody yet that's in our conference and wants to play football."
Cloverdale 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Cascade 0 014 0 -- 14
Cascade -- Smith 5 yard TD run (Bodeker kick) 7-0
Cascade -- Baldwin 65 yard interception return (Bodeker kick) 14-0