Central football team gets homecoming win over Poplar Bluff

Sunday, October 9, 2011
Cape Central running back Mikey Jones (25) looks for an opening Friday, Oct. 7, 2011, against the Poplar Bluff Mules in Cape Girardeau, Mo. (DAILY AMERICAN REPUBLIC/Brian Rosener)

Christian Cavaness and the Central Tigers picked off Poplar Bluff for a happy homecoming Friday night.

Cavaness intercepted two passes on defense and ran for two touchdowns to lead the Tigers to a 35-20 victory in their first homecoming game at their new stadium.

The two picks by Cavaness in the first half matched Central's season total, while both Tae Jenkins and Chris Martin added an interception in the second half to set up scores.

"We were opportunistic on defense. We turned turnovers into points and that's always a positive," Central coach Nathan Norman said about the 14 points off four Poplar Bluff turnovers.

The Tigers (5-1, 2-0 SEMO North) geared up for the district playoffs with a 412-yard offensive night, most of which came on just seven plays.

Central had touchdown runs of 2, 41, 49, 58 and 75 yards, and were led by Jacob Campbell's 169 yards rushing. He scored twice running the same play in the second half, the first putting the Tigers up 28-6.

Mikey Jones ran for 75 of his 86 yards on a first-quarter touchdown for a 14-0 lead.

"We knew what they were doing on defense that if we got clear of the secondary it was over," Norman said. "They were bringing a lot of people up to stop us, but we kept with it.

"I knew it would bounce, and they did for six points."

Poplar Bluff (1-6, 0-3) cut the margin to 15 points with 6 minutes, 45 seconds to play and recovered an onside kick, but the Tigers' defense held.

The Mules also had a second-quarter drive stopped at the Central 12-yard line trailing by eight points.

Cavaness, who usually does not play defense, made a tackle for a loss on fourth-and-2 to stop Poplar Bluff's drive. He also ended the previous drive with an interception at the Central 13-yard line and picked off a pass near the goal line just before the half.

"He's a player for us," Norman said. "We were scared of playing him -- we didn't want him to get hurt -- early in the year, but it's time.

"He's gotta go. He's gotta play."

Cavaness finished the opening drive of the game with a 2-yard touchdown run after throwing a pair of passes to Jacob Boerboom for 41 yards, and Campbell added a 24-yard run.

After Jones' touchdown run, Central led 14-0 and appeared to have the Mules trapped near their own end zone on the ensuing kickoff. Cornelius Timothy instead scrambled for a 52-yard return, and the Mules were on the board 12 plays later.

Austin Barousse, who finished with 126 yards rushing, got a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal, but a missed extra-point left the Mules trailing 14-6.

"I don't think we played very hard early," Poplar Bluff coach Mark Barousse said. "We're missing a few guys and we didn't come out and play hard."

The Mules had five sophomores starting on defense due to injuries and a pair of ejections in a loss to Farmington last week. But they trailed by eight points at the start of the second half and had the ball, driving to Central's 30-yard line.

Jenkins tipped a Michael Griggs' pass to himself for an interception, and Central scored 10 plays later on Cavaness' 41-yard touchdown run.

Martin's interception was at his own 30 when he stepped in front of a pass and returned it to the end zone. A penalty wiped out the touchdown, but the Tigers scored 47 seconds later on Campbell's 49-yard run.

"They had a chance to get back in it, had a turnover and we went down and put points on the board," Norman said. "You never know what could tip the game, but that sure helped us."

Noteworthy

* Central kicker Calvin Lovig, who made all five extra points, missed a 38-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter with a low kick.

* Boerboom had a sack on defense and caught three passes for 54 yards.

Scoring Summary

Poplar Bluff 0 6 0 14 -- 20

Cape Central 14 0 14 7 -- 35

First Quarter

C -- Cavaness 2 run (Lovig kick), 8:14.

C -- M.Jones 75 run (Lovig kick), 3:59.

Second Quarter

PB -- Barousse 1 run (kick fail), 11:17.

Third Quarter

C -- Cavaness 41 run (Lovig kick), 6:21.

C -- J.Campbell 49 run (Lovig kick), 1:37.

Fourth Quarter

PB -- Hicks 11 pass from Griggs (Griggs run), 9:50.

C -- J.Campbell 58 run (Lovig kick), 8:58.

PB -- Hicks 23 pass from Griggs (run fail), 6:45.

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