Cashion turns narrow halftime lead into blowout victory over Hooker
Not since Cashion’s fourth contest of the season have the Wildcats had much to worry about in the second half of a football game.
But that was the situation they faced last Friday when they led Hooker by just six points at the break of their third-round playoff game.
“I think the guys were a little shocked,” Cashion coach Lynn Shackelford said. “I told them that it’s a playoff game. It’s supposed to be hard and if you’re not 100 percent ready, then it will be harder.”
The Wildcats were definitely prepared for the second half as they scored 40 straight points to move into this week’s Class A quarterfinal with a 60-22 victory.
Cashion, now 13-0, will host Woodland at 7 p.m. Friday for the right to move into the semifinals.
The Wildcats had a turnover, let Hooker recover an onside kick and gave up as many points in the first two quarters as they have in a full game all season.
That led to the minimal 20-14 halftime advantage.
Challenged by Shackelford and the rest of the staff, the Wildcats outscored Hooker 27-0 in the third quarter and added 13 more points to start the fourth.
In true Cashion fashion, the onslaught was spread out by the team’s wealth of playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Brexten Green had a 6-yard TD run and Caden Harrell a 2-yard scoring run.
Landon LaGasse hauled in a 36-yard touchdown from Ben Harman and Jackson Vandruff picked off a pass and took it 22 yards into the end zone.
Vandruff’s score was the third of three straight turnovers by the Bulldogs as they saw their halftime hopes turn into a 47-14 deficit.
“Basically we stopped turning it over and they started,” Shackelford said. “I thought we did a better job pressuring their quarterback in the second half and that helped.”
The Bulldogs took care of the ball for the most part in the second half.
After giving up a 77-yard touchdown to LaGasse on the game’s opening kickoff, they settled in and outscored Cashion 14-13 the rest of the half.
Hooker’s Gavynn Parker threw a pair of touchdown passes and the Bulldogs picked off Harman when Cashion was on the verge of scoring.
Harman threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Mason Manning and Harrell chipped in a 4-yard TD run in the second quarter, but Hooker was hanging in.
Until the third quarter.
Unable to run the ball (Hooker had 27 yards on 26 attempts), the Bulldogs were forced to the air.
Parker was 24 of 36 for 272 yards, but was picked off three times.
Meanwhile, Cashion was able to show off its balance.
The Wildcats ran for 240 yards and had 280 through the air.
Harrell got 19 carries and turned them into 163 yards.
Harman added 32 rushing yards and Max Brown, who scored in the fourth, contributed 29 on the ground.
Harman was 12 of 16 for 235 yards. Green added 45 yards on a touchdown pass to LaGasse in the fourth quarter.
Green also had six catches of his own for 119 yards.
LaGasse’s three passes netted 87 yards and Manning caught four for 74 more yards.
On defense, Justice Broadbent tallied 13 tackles, including three for a loss.
Harrell added eight and Gavin Phippen seven.
Add all that together and you get another Cashion blowout. It just took a little longer than normal.
“I think we handled the situation pretty well,” Shackelford said of the first-half issues. “Hopefully they’ll learn from that.”