In their final football game of the 2020 season, the Cedarville Jr High Pirates played away at Mansfield on Thursday, October 29. This group of players has gone above and beyond on and off the field since this past summer. From intense practices to hardcore Thursday night matches, the Jr Pirates have pushed themselves mentally and physically in hopes of steering their ship to greatness and established as a program that no longer gets overlooked and underrated.
In their game against the Tigers, they knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. But they were ready to go big or go home the moment they entered the stadium. To get the battle going, the Pirates kicked off to the Tigers. Right out of the gate Braxton Bentley came in with a huge hit leaving the Tiger receiver wishing he had not caught the ball. Chasyn Oden got in on the tackling action as well and after failing to do anything with the ball, Mansfield gave the field to Cedarville. After a few offensive attempts by the Pirates, they too took a turnover on downs.
Again the Tigers ball, Mansfield made every attempt to get on the board but Noah Waterman was quick to put a freeze on the Tigers offense with his unwavering counter-attacks. With minutes left in the first quarter, Mansfield’s QB was primed for a pass and as he launched the ball to his intended receiver, Dylan Adkins came in with the smack-down intercepting the Tigers ball and proving his point that Cedarville meant business. Freshman, Colton Arnold, was the Pirates offensive human dynamo the entire night running routes faster than the Road Runner on a treadmill. As the first quarter ended with a score of 0-0, it was Cedarville’s ball to start quarter number two.
The Tigers barely had time to get their feet under them for the Pirate’s first play of the quarter when Arnold blew Mansfield’s socks off with a 62-yard running TD. Dylan Atkins solidified the two-point conversions and the scoreboard lit up 8-0 Cedarville with 7:50 left in the first half. The Tigers responded with their own TD at the 3-minute mark placing the score at 8-6 Cedarville. After some nice yardage acquired by Briley Small from Mansfields kick, that would be the only excitement the Pirates would get in the remainder of the first half. With a turnover on downs, the Tigers were able to capitalize on their turn with the ball as they laid down another TD. The second quarter ended with a halftime score of 14-8 Mansfield.
The second half of the game opened with nice runs by Arnold and Waterman coupled with the tackling skills of Knowlton Christian. This combo did the trick as Arnold was able to drop-ship a rushing TD tying up the score 14-14 at the end of the third quarter. Talk about a finger-nail chewing battle. It was very evident at this point that neither team was going to lay down quietly. The fourth quarter opened with Cedarville possessing the ball. Things were looking good for the Pirates as Arnold helped move his team downfield when it happened. The Pirates fumbled the ball but the Tigers were unable to get anything done offensively as they turned the ball back over to Cedarville. With 2:25 left in the game, the Pirates fumbled again. And again, Mansfield fell short as well opting to punt the ball to the Pirates.
With time quickly running out, the Tigers punt was taken by Dylan Adkins who along with coverage by Braxton Bentley, set the Pirates up nicely for victory. But as fate would have it, with 18 seconds left on the clock, Cedarville’s ball was intercepted by Mansfield for a TD finishing the game and the Pirates season with a final score of 22-14 Tigers.
“The Jr Pirates finished with a final record of 2-5,” said coach, Max Washausen. “I thought they played really hard all season and in the final game as well. Colton Arnold had 26 carries for 162 yards and 2 TDs against Mansfield. He earned 148 carries, 948 yards, and 8 TDs total on the season. I have really enjoyed this group’s attitudes and I believe they have a really high ceiling for improvement over the offseason. I know I have said this before, but I’m proud of this group of 20-22 7th-9th graders. A lot of kids can choose to do a lot of other things and these guys are learning great life lessons through the game of football.”
Freshman, Colton Arnold, chatted with me about his thoughts going into his final game as a Jr High player. “It was a pretty emotional game for me if I’m being honest. I have worked so hard my entire Jr High career and this being my last game wearing number 3 and playing on the Jr High squad, I was ready to go in and get a win. I wanted it, real bad. I had a goal of getting at least 1000 yards this season and came close but didn’t quite achieve it..that was on my mind a lot going into the game and throughout the entire contest. I also didn’t want to let my team down or my program. I go 100 percent until the whistle blows. All game long.”
To say this was an intense and physical match between Cedarville and Mansfield would be an understatement. But Colton has a way to stay cool under pressure. “I believe that it’s all a mindset. If you have a mindset that you’re gonna go in there, play hard and win, that greatly increases your focus and positivity on the field. I’ve learned over the years of playing football that you can’t go into a game already defeated. You have to keep a level head and keep your mind on the game. I know that if I stay calm and positive my teammates follow by example. That’s my drive and push to finish and win the game.”
As a 9th-grader, Arnold is already as polished and refined as his older counterparts. But how is his success made possible? “Hard work! If you want to be successful, you have to have a “want to attitude”. There’s no other way around it. If you don’t have the drive to do something, you just aren’t going to achieve it. My success is credited to my years of hard work and dedication. Bryson Turner, Briley Small, and Braxton Bentley are the reason I was so successful this year. It’s also thanks to an excellent line. They made me look like an excellent athlete.”
Next season, Colton will be joining an over-the-top and most likely unstoppable Sr High Pirate crew consisting of Cody Dickens, Darryl Kattich, Bruce Turney, Hayden Partain, Hayden Morton, Bradley Perkins, Levi Hightower, Tyree Mongold, and Jace Baker. But as always, it’s never too early to start planning for the future. “My number one goal is to become a starter as a sophomore although I know it will be tough. I want to be part of the winning program that Coach Washausen has built from the ground up.”