What a difference a week can make in football.
After giving up a halftime lead to Monrovia last week, Cascade improved upon its 14-point advantage after two quarters Friday night, and downed North Putnam, 28-14.
“Our first two games we’ve come out flat after halftime, and that’s something we talked about all week,” Cascade coach Jason Thompson said. “They made changes and that’s good to see.”
Cascade hurt itself with penalties against Monrovia, and while it still had issues in that area Friday, it was North Putnam that really suffered. The Cougars totaled 10 flags for 110 yards to go along with two interceptions.
“Too many penalties, too many turnovers. That’s kind of the way the year has gone for us,” North Putnam coach Greg Barrett said.
Cascade took advantage of those miscues as quarterback Sawyer Donovan connected with receiver Zach Batts for two touchdowns in the first half.
Donovan hit Batts for a 12-yard TD for the Cadets’ first score, one set up by a 27-yard Zac Butler run to begin the drive.
Donovan’s 34-yard TD pass to Batts with just over two minutes left in the opening half came on a tipped pass off a Cougars defender. Batts’ concentration and speed paid dividends as he hauled the ball in and outraced two defenders.
“Sawyer is doing a great job of getting the ball to me, and when he makes good throws, it’s not hard to catch the ball,” Batts said.
Donovan finished 7 of 13 through the air for 88 yards and three TDs.
Cascade’s defense played well in the first half, holding North Putnam to 87 yards. It improved on that in the second half.
“The defense did a fantastic job,” Thompson said. “We were on them pretty hard this week after last week’s effort and that says a lot about their character.”
The defensive effort continued after the break with Brock Stephenson’s interception of North Putnam quarterback Gabe McFadden.
“The coaches said if I got deep he would overthrow the receiver, so I got deep and it paid off,” Stephenson said.
A Donovan fumble set up a 5-yard TD pass from McFadden to Garrett Plessinger in the third quarter, but Chris Howard blocked the attempt, giving the Cadets an eight-point lead.
Donovan and Batts hooked up on the ensuing drive from 19 yards out, putting Cascade up 21-6 early in the fourth.
Butler intercepted a poorly thrown ball by Plessinger, and sealed the victory with a 90-yard scoring run late in the fourth.
Butler finished with 193 yards on 18 carries to lead Cascade.