Cedarville was keyed as a 3A-1 contender in the preseason, but some couldn’t get past the Pirate’s possible winning conference. Many believed the hype while many others were still skeptical. But it was the Pirates who had the last “hardy har har” as they blew out the Berryville Bobcats 42-20 on Friday, August 27th in their first game of the season.
To say it again, Cedarville traveled to Berryville to beat a 4A opponent handily. That should open some eyes in the 3A-1. As for the rumor of Darryl Kattich being the best running back in the league, that rumor was confirmed in Friday night’s game. Kattich averaged over 9 yards per carry as he skinned the Bobcats with 21 carries for 194 yards and a touchdown. Last season Kattich was a one-man show for the Pirates giving them an early start to success, but defenses zoned in on him causing the Pirates to flatten out towards the end of the season. That will not be the case this year.
Cedarville has preached “teamwork” all offseason and they practiced what they preached against Berryville. Five different players scored on Berryville. Kattich led the rushing attack, but the rest of the backfield proved they are quite capable of spreading out the workload. Bruce Turney averaged an amazing 24 yards per carry with 96 yards on just 4 carries and a touchdown. Hayden Morton had 5 carries for 70 yards and two touchdowns with a 14-yard average. And Hayden Partain ground his way to 60 yards off of 12 carries with a 5 yard per carrying average and a touchdown. Needless to say, the Pirates running back stable isn’t a one-man show. They’re downright stacked as the four backs combined for a total of 5 touchdowns off of 42 carries for 420 yards against the 4A Berryville defense.
To stop the running attack, some teams might crowd the box or send linebackers on blitzes. Berryville tried but to no avail. Quarterback Cody Dickens and his wide receiving core ripped the Bobcats with 8 completions for 105 yards. Again, just like the running game, the air raid was a team effort as six different players caught passes on the night. Overall, the Pirates proved that they are deep in their offensive arsenal and well balanced. The days of defenses focusing solely on one person are over. This Pirates offense is all for one and one for all.
You can score all you want though and still lose every game if you don’t have a defense on the field. The offense may have been melting their cannons, but the defense proved to be a crushing tsunami against Berryville. Cedarville had four players with double-digit tackles and two that were just one takedown away from double digits. The Holy Haydens (Partain and Morton) paired up for 12 tackles each, Luke Mallow and Bruce Turney made 10 crippling tackles each, and Austin Bentley and Darryl Kattich each had 9 takedowns. Even those who didn’t have tackles in the stat book did their jobs by covering receivers like peanut butter and putting a flood of pressure in Berryville’s backfield. Again, the Pirates are all about team and on defense that means team tackling.
With a point proven in dominating their first opponent, the Pirates will now move from 4A down to 2A competition as they prepare for the one and only Mountainburg Dragons and the battle for the Treasure Chest on Friday, September 3rd. Cedarville knows that AAA classification means nothing in this game. Mountainburg will bring all they have into this rivalry game as they always do. But this time, the Dragons may bring more as their legendary Head Coach, Tom Harrell, will be retiring after this season. “Mountainburg always plays us really hard,” said Cedarville Coach Max Washausen. “Even though they haven’t played a scrimmage or Week Zero this season, we know they’re gunning for us. With it being Coach Harrell’s last season, I’m sure we’ll see every trick in his legendary playbook.” This coveted rivalry has held the Pirates down over the past decade with Mountainburg winning six of the past team games. But the Cedarville program is beginning to ride the high tide and the winds are changing in their favor.
Photos courtesy of Malinda Mizell