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Friendship checks off Cascade 42-6
Nov 11, 2012 12:00 am
Commanders host Marion County in quarterfinal
By ANDY REED
After a week off for a first-round bye, Friendship Christian was clicking in all three phases of football in a 42-6 crushing of visiting Cascade in the Class 2A playoffs Friday night at Pirtle Field.
Friendship ran for 269 yards, including 132 and a pair of touchowns by running back Steven Hollis. Quarterback A.J. Long, who added 61 first-half yards on the ground, was an efficient 9-of-11 passing for 175 yards and a pair of scores.
On special teams, Blake Grosch hit all six extra points and Stefan Remus' kickoff kept Cascade bottled up most of the night.
And the defense pitched a shutout until Creed Rose broke loose down the left sideline for a 77-yard run, setting up his 1-yard score in the fourth quarter.
"Our balance in our running and passing was better than it had been in a while," Friendship coach John McNeal said after his Commanders advanced to the quarterfinals with a 10-1 record. "[Defense] did a good job. They stayed with their game plan. Their player [Rose] runs hard, he finds the hole and he's hard to bring down. They were able to do some things we felt we were going to have to stop and there were times if he got to the second level, we were going to have a hard time tackling him.
"But the one touchdown, I'll give that. Our defense played good all night."
The Commanders scored the first three times they had the ball on a Hollis 13-yard sweep, a Long 45-yard pass to Hunter Watts and Long' 5-yard draw for a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
After Cascade's Cody Smith recovered a Friendship fumble at the Champions' 17-yard line, the Commanders got the ball right back on a punt to the visitors' 46.
Long found Remus down the middle for a 35-yard touchdown and a 28-0 halftime lead.
Hollis tacked on a 2-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter for a 35-0 lead.
Cascade, held to three first downs in the first half, finally got some room for Rose to run as he carried on six straight snaps to the Friendship 29. The Champions actually got as close as the 20, but a personal foul backed them up and Chandler Sulcer's fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
Austin Taylor, who added 67 yards on seven carries, capped his night with a 29-yard scoring run for a 42-0 lead early in the fourth.
Rose, who racked up 181 yards on 29 carries, got 77 on a rumble down the Cascade sideline Remus and Hunter Watts caught him from behind at the 4. He scored three plays later before Cale Mitchell blocked the extra point.
After Friendship's only punt of the night, Andrew Wood recovered a Cascade fumble on the game's final play as the Champions wrapped up a 7-5 season.
Up next for Friendship, a quarterfinal visit at 7 p.m. next Friday from Marion County, which ousted Trousdale County 48-21 in Jasper.
"I told the kids you're guaranteed one more week, and that's it," said McNeal, who wasn't happy with his team's emotion coming out of halftime. "We got to get a little more fire now that we're in the playoffs and understand one more week, any mistakes can make us take up our equipment. We would love to continue playing on Thanksgiving."
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org