From the opening kickoff until the waning moments of the fourth quarter, the Chase was on.
Chase Gorman, the Cave City Cavemen's 5-7, 160-pound ninth-grade running back, had a mammoth outing against the visiting Salem junior Greyhounds Sept. 8, racking up 166 yards on 12 carries while scoring four touchdowns in Cave City's 26-16 victory.
It was had to tell that this was the first ever official junior high football game for Cave City, which had played a junior-high junior varsity schedule last season, by the way the Cavemen set the tone of the contest from the very start.
Gorman took the opening kick of the evening and ran it back 70 yards for a score to knock Salem on its heels less than 20 ticks inside the game's start. Cave City's attempt at a 2-point conversion failed, but they held a 6-0 advantage.
The junior Hounds' first offensive series ended with a fumbled snap in a punting situation at their own 49-yard line, giving the Cavemen good field position for their next snaps on offense.
The Cavemen didn't let this chance slip through their grip, as a five-play, 42-yard drive ended with Gorman's second TD of the night, a 9-yard carry over the right side with 1:16 left in the first quarter. The 2-point conversion was snuffed by the junior Greyhounds, but Cave City took a 12-0 lead into the second quarter.
It appeared as though this score might hold up until intermission, but Cave City got the ball back with 22 seconds left in the half and let Gorman do the rest.
On first-and-10 at their own 35, the Cavemen found lightning in a bottle once again as quarterback Jeremy Johnson handed the ball to Gorman, and he promptly rambled 65 yards into Salem's end zone with eight seconds showing on the clock. Cave City's third try at a 2-point conversion on the night was stopped, but the Cavemen extended their margin to 18-0 at the half.
Neither squad would dent the scoreboard in a third quarter that saw Salem lose two fumbles, while Cave City punted on its two possessions in the frame.
Although he was quiet in the third, Gorman crossed the goal line yet one more time in the opening minutes of the fourth on an 18-yard TD scramble at the 5:51 point of the quarter. This time Johnson cashed in on the 2-point conversion, a quarterback keeper that pushed Cave City on top 26-0.
The junior Greyhounds finally found the end zone a couple of times late in the fourth, the first coming on a seven-play, 50-yard drive that resulted in a 6-yard TD from Devin Vaughn with 3:04 left to play. Colin Young toted the football across the goal line for a 2-point conversion that saw Salem trailing 26-8.
Not yet done, the junior Hounds pulled off a perfect onsides kick that gave them the football at the Cave City 46-yard line.
Marching down a short field, Salem pushed the ball into the end zone on a 4-yard TD run that came with nine ticks showing on the clock. Junior Greyhound quarterback Blake Martin then hit Young with a nifty pass that gave Salem a successful 2-point conversion, rounding out the final score of 26-16, Cave City.