SPEEDWAY — Cascade could not overcome Speedway’s defense or stop its offense last night and and those two factors usually do not lead to success, although the Cadets kept it close early.
Speedway senior running back Justin Brent rushed for 60 second-half yards and three touchdowns — on three consecutive drives — as the Sparkplugs defeated Cascade 40-13.
Senior Zach Batts scored Cascade’s only second-half points, taking the opening kickoff 96 yards behind a battalion of blockers down the left seam.
“That was a big play to start the half,” Cascade coach Jason Thompson said. “The bottom line is, we just didn’t execute on both sides of the ball. In the first half, we executed extremely well.”
Speedway coach Denny Pelley was happy with the win, but concerned with his team’s slow start.
“We let ‘em hang around, hang around,” Pelley said. “Now, we’re behind in the third quarter and it made us wake up. We played like we should play in the second half. We’re a big play team. We have two or three athletes that can make big plays. That’s the way we are. When we make big plays, we feed off that.”
Brent, a Notre Dame commit, also caught a 39-yard screen pass on second-and-19 to negate an illegal motion penalty. He broke multiple tackles, including one at the line of scrimmage, on his only reception of the night.
A Speedway wide receiver caught the game-tying touchdown and on the Sparkplugs’ next three possessions, Brent rushed for touchdowns.
Pelley said Brent didn’t practice the first three days of the week, due to a knee that’s bugging him. He played a little bit in shorts with his teammates on Thursday.
“In the first half, we had the same players in there, they didn’t make any plays,” Pelley said. “In the second half, we made plays. That’s the way it goes. But you gotta keep feeding those guys the ball because they’re going to make plays.”
Cascade’s offense could not keep the heat off junior quarterback Sawyer Donovan in the pocket, as Speedway’s front seven brought relentless pressure. Donovan threw two interceptions in the final quarter.
“Their defense is good,” Thompson said. “They got good athletes. We struggled protecting (Donovan) a little bit and that’s something we gotta get fixed.”
Cascade’s 40-13 loss dropped them to 4-2. The Cadets return home next weekend for Homecoming.
Thompson said his team hung their head a little bit when Speedway went up by two scores.
“That’s one thing that we gotta get fixed,” Thompson said. “We talk about playing 48 minutes. Tonight, we just didn’t do that.”