From first whistle to last, CBC football dominated the Jr. Bills in a highly-anticipated MCC matchup last Friday night. The Cadets stomped the Jr. Bills 49-14, leaving little to no room for a Jr. Bills comeback throughout the game. The game was highly anticipated across more than just the two schools competing; Mizzou football head coach Eli Drinkwitz even flew on to the South Field in his helicopter to watch the football game.
Right off the bat, the Jr. Bills, headed by senior quarterback Marco Sansone, looked to be firing on all cylinders. Sansone bounced back from a reversed holding call after a connection with junior tight end Landon Pace by dotting senior receiver Joe Harris and moving the chains inside CBC’s 25-yard line. The stint of the offensive success was shortened as, on a first and 10 play, Sansone underthrew senior receiver Ryan Wingo, resulting in a CBC interception on the Cadets 3-yard line. From there, the Cadets offense attacked and didn’t look back. Turnovers proved to be a pitfall of theJr. Bill offense.
“The offensive productivity all relies on the quarterback, and I didn’t have my best game,” said Sansone. “I can’t throw three interceptions and expect anything. We started hot, but at the end of the drive I threw an interception which really ruined our momentum, and it was hard to come back from that.”
From there the CBC game plan set in: complete short passes and run the ball. CBC senior quarterback Cole McKey offloaded the ball to the running backs repeatedly until reaching half field. From there, McKey connected on a short pass to senior 4-star Ohio State commit Jeremiah McClellan, who took it to the house on a 61-yard dash for the first score of the game. Their run game and wide receiver wideout sprints posed a constant issue for the Jr. Bills defense throughout the night.
“Defensively, it’s our first and foremost responsibility to stop the run and we didn’t do that on Friday,” said head coach Adam Cruz. “We didn’t tackle as well as we know we can, we didn’t execute the way we knew we could on defense.”
The Cadets were shining on both sides of the ball last Friday, as SLUH went three and out on the next. McClellan proved his speed and strength once again, mustering through the defense and placing the Cadets 14-0 over the Jr. Bills with a second touchdown in the first quarter.
On CBC’s next drive, senior safety Jacobi Oliphant caused a fumble with a hard hit sack on the Cadets quarterback. This play eventually led to the Jr. Billikens first stop of the game and another offensive attempt.
Early in the drive, Sansone found Wingo which led the Jr. Bills to the Cadets’ half of the field, and not soon after Sansone found Pace for a short pass that gave the team two quick first down conversions in a row. However, these two impressive plays were overshadowed by two SLUH penalties that resulted in a first and 25 attempt. On fourth down, Sansone missed his target, throwing another goal line interception, allowing CBC yet another chance to score. They did just that on the next play, as CBC ran the ball 62 yards up the field for their third touchdown of the quarter, further crushing the Jr. Bills’ spirits.
Although the Cadets seemed to have their hand on the wheel, the Jr. Bills refused to give up. After a QB scramble from Sansone, CBC hit Sansone late out of bounds giving SLUH a 15-yard penalty gain and momentum to continue their drive. After a long march into the red zone, Sansone ran the ball in for an 8-yard touchdown, finally putting SLUH on the scoreboard.
After six plays on the next CBC drive, McClellan scored a 1-yard touchdown to put CBC up by 21 again.
The Jr. Bills were not turning things off, as they quickly rebounded with a touchdown in only three plays, when Sansone found Harris in the end zone for a 39-yard touchdown.
A late CBC touchdown put the Cadets up 35-14 at half.
The SLUH game plan for the second half was to come up with an important stop, as they defended their kickoff. Unfortunately, CBC’s powerful run game prevailed again as CBC running back A.J. Johnson capped off a drive full of repeated outside runs and short passes with a one-yard touchdown run. This touchdown ultimately put the nail in the coffin, as the Jr. Bills went scoreless for the remainder of the game.
“We simply started to get tired because we were on the field a lot,” said Oliphant. “We started to lose focus and morale.”
Before the third quarter ended, CBC put one more touchdown on the board before deciding to play their backups in the fourth quarter. CBC put aside McKey as they let backup quarterback Jason Wiley take the helm, who went on to score their final touchdown for a short run of six yards.
The Jr. Bills look to recoil and reset in their fourth week of play, against Vashon, a team who has yet to play in the 2023 season due to Week 1 and 2 complications regarding sickness and injury.
“We’ve just got to get back to doing the things we know we do well,” said Cruz. “We’ve got to get back to performing the way we know we can, getting back to the basics, and doing the little things right so we can execute and get the big things that we want on Friday night.”
“This week is a week to get back to the basics. We are 0-0 this week and we have to play like it,” said Oliphant.
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