By Micah McVicker
---- — CRAWFORDSVILLE — Behind Zac Butler’s 213 rushing yards, Cascade marched to its first season-opening victory since 2006, Derek Moyers’s last season at the helm.
Cascade withstood a furious rally by Crawfordsville for a 38-26 victory Friday night, as the two teams accounted for 63 points in the second half.
The Cadets capitalized on the Athenians’ third fumble of the game, and Butler completed the 29-yard drive, fighting for the last three yards for the game’s final score.
“It’s unreal,” Cascade coach Jason Thompson said of the program’s first Week 1 win in seven years. “It says a lot about these kids and how hard they’ve worked. In the offseason, the attendance was fantastic.”
Cascade got on the board first with a 77-yard drive that took just two minutes. Quarterback Sawyer Donovan, after a fake, handed to Butler, who broke free over the right side of the line anchored by Nick Evans and Lukas Stoutenour, and outran the defense for a 43-yard touchdown.
Cascade emphatically concluded its subsequent defensive possession by forcing a turnover on downs, as Stoutenour sacked quarterback Travis Harris with just under two minutes left in the first quarter.
Butler’s touchdown was the only score of the first half. Thompson said his team missed some offensive opportunities in the opening 24 minutes, but that defensively, the Cadets were stout.
“We proved in the first half they couldn’t move the ball on us,” Thompson said.
The offenses exploded in the second half. Crawfordsville clawed to within five points late in the fourth quarter, but fumbled deep in its territory, and Cascade pounced on it.
As a team, Cascade rushed for 278 yards, and Butler praised his offensive line.
“(They) did amazing,” Butler said. “They just blocked up front. They got everybody. We did what we were supposed to do (and) executed. We’ve got an all-senior line. We’re going to be pretty tough this year, I think.”