High School Football

Pass-happy Tuscola collides with Cavs

Mountaineers take their dual-threat triple option to East Rutherford tonight
By Dennis Smathers | Sep 04, 2014
Photo by: Patrick Parton Tuscola senior receiver Damon McDaniels, 21, makes a leaping reception against TCR.

Over the past few decades, East Rutherford’s football program has built a reputation for having a dominant run-first offense with a couple of fast running backs.
Nothing has changed for tonight’s Tuscola at East Rutherford non-conference game in Bostic.
The Cavaliers have a lethal running game and they also have a pair of speedy running backs in Kameron Garrison and Calvin Camp that the Mountaineers will have to contend with for four quarters.  Adding to Tuscola head coach Tommy Pursley’s concerns are East Rutherford’s talented quarterback in D.J. Miller, a strong-leg placekicker in Harrison Wilkerson and a defense that is coming off a solid performance against East Gaston (26-7), which by the way runs the same triple option as the Mountaineers.
“East Rutherford is similar to T.C. Roberson in that they got some fast backs, good lineman, just not as many,” said Pursley. “They have very good backs that we are going to focus on. Although East is primarily a running team, their quarterback is most dangerous when he drops back to pass then takes off running. The key for us is to finish drives.  We had more than 500 yards offense in the first game and nearly 400 in the second game. But our points scored doesn’t match the yardage we have gained.”
Tuscola’s defense will be stressed trying to contain the Cavs’ multiple offensive weapons. The leaders on the Mountaineers’ defensive unit are senior linebackers Jonathan Martinez (18 total tackles), Houston McCracken (12 total tackles), Cody Wood (14 total tackles) and junior tackle Tregg Rice (13.0 total tackles).
In last week’s win, however, East Rutherford’s defense had only to contend with a one-dimensional East Gaston offense. The Mountaineers and senior quarterback Parker Allen (417 passing yards) have proven not to be your typical triple option team, throwing for an average of 208.5 yards in the first two contests.
Tuscola’s offense, which averages 28 points a game, will continue to run and pass the ball proficiently. The question will be can it eliminate or cut down on the excessive drive-killing turnovers and mistakes?
“East is home and the favorite,” said Pursley. “But we’ll have a shot to win if we finish drives and limit our mistakes.  Injurywise, we are as healthy as we have been so far. We have a couple of players back that were injured the first couple games and they will probably see some playing time (tonight).”
This will be the eighth meeting all-time between the Mountaineers (1-1) and Cavaliers (1-1) as East Rutherford holds a slim 4-3 lead in the series.
Last season Tuscola edged the Cavs, 22-21.
It’s obvious East Rutherford has the speed and home field advantage for tonight’s game. But the Mountaineers’ big-play passing attack could be their advantage and that may keep them in the game — for at least three quarters.
At kickoff, the temperatures are forecasted to be 80 degrees with a relatively-high humdity (77 percent), which will create a muggy feeling on the field. Tuscola’s lack of depth will start to take its toll in the final 12 minutes.
Try chasing around a bunch of fast Cavaliers in a sauna the size of a football field.
Prediction
East Rutherford 24
Tuscola 21

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