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Ticket in hand

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Photo/Sparks OUTRUNNIN' THE PACK: Cave City's Thamail Morgan jets upfield against Hoxie Oct. 30.
Even with only one loss on the season, Cave City still needed a win against Hoxie to secure a 3A playoff spot.

The 14-7 victory over the Mustangs on Oct. 30 at Hoxie got the Cavemen into the post season, but their seeding is still up in the air because of a three-way tie for first between Rivercrest, Harrisburg and Cave City.

The Colts have the advantage with 57 points, followed by the Hornets with 54 and Cave City with 51.

Photo/Sparks TOO LATE TO THROW: Cave City's Thamail Morgan gets ready to drop the hammer on Hoxie quarterback Jeremy Anglin Oct. 30.
The Cavemen's last drive started at the Mustang 30 with over two minutes left in the game.

Hoxie played good defense and Cave City played it safe, even though a touchdown and PAT would have given them the conference points lead. Points are determined by the margin of victory for conference games with a maximum of 13 for any one game.

"You just don't want to take a chance. We weren't worried about points right there, we just needed the win," said Caveman Head Coach Jon Bradley. "We know we're in, but we could finish 8-2 and be the fourth seed in this conference. It's a big win for us, though."

To win the game, the Cavemen had to do what they've done all season; win the second half.

Even with a first half interception by Thamail Morgan that gave Cave City the ball at the Hoxie 15, the Cavemen couldn't get on the scoreboard.

Morgan scored on the ensuing series, but an illegal substitution penalty negated it.

They gave the ball back on downs three plays later.

"We played about as bad as we can play in the first half," explained Bradley. "We were only down seven and we've been a second half team all year. We've won every second half in every game."

Hoxie got on the board on its first possession.

Cave City punted the ball to the Mustang 39, but Hoxie quarterback Jeremy Anglin got a 45-yard pass completion to move the ball deep into Cave City territory.

Blake Snow found an opening around the left end for the 16-yard score and Anglin added the PAT for a 7-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the first quarter.

Hoxie threatened again late in the period when they reached the Cavemen 5-yard line, but had to give up the ball on downs.

The Mustangs lost Sebastian Irvin on this drive to a leg injury after a horse collar tackle. Irvin had 61 yards on four carries to that point.

"I felt like our defense played great. We gave up one play on a big pass on the first play of the game for them," said Bradley. "Other than that, we did a pretty good job of containing them. They've got a good offense. They're big. They come after you. We're very pleased with the effort."

The Cave City defense came up with its own big play to start the second half. Nick Townsend intercepted an Anglin pass at the Cavemen 21.

The Cave City offense put together an 11-play, 79-yard drive for its first score.

The team had to overcome a third-and-6 and a third-and-2 to keep the drive alive. Townsend picked up the third-and-6 and Tyler Poulette converted the second third down.

Carpenter found Morgan over the middle at the goal line for the 20-yard TD pass. Morgan swept to the right for the two-point conversion and the 8-7 advantage at the 3:25 mark of the third.

Joey Barnett sacked Anglin for an 11-yard loss on first down of the Mustangs next series to put Hoxie in a hole and eventually force them to punt, which only made it to the Mustang 44.

Given a short field, the Cavemen marched down for another score. Jeremy Johnson scored on a rush up the middle, but it was called back on an illegal motion penalty.

On third-and-10, Dalton Carpenter hit a pass to Kody White for a 6-yard gain and then Johnson bullied ahead for four and the first down. Townsend and a Mustang unsportsmanlike conduct call got the ball to the Hoxie 2, which allowed Carpenter to find the end zone on the draw and the 14-7 lead. William Boyd's point-after attempt was wide right.

Not letting up, the Caveman defense recovered a fumble to stop Hoxie's next drive and Morgan sacked Anglin on fourth down to end their final series.

Carpenter was five-of-eight for 50 yards passing, including a 22-yarder to White.

Townsend led the team with 109 yards on 19 carries, followed by Morgan, seven carries for 31 yards, Poulette had 31 yards on 13 rushes and Johnson seven totes for 25.

Cave City (8-1, 5-1) ends the regular season by hosting 4-2 Earle on Nov. 5.

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