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The Cavalier football team was in action last Friday night in Jasper Co. to take on the Canes. Big plays on special teams and experience of upperclassmen brought the W home for the Cavaliers to start this season off 1-0. Cavalier Sports News sat down with Head Coach Keith Hatcher (’96) to discuss last Friday’s game and preview the this week’s home opener against the Southwest Patriots on September 3 at 7:30 PM.

When asked about his take on the season opener against the Canes, Coach Hatcher explained “It was just exciting getting back out on a football Friday night after what we all went through last season with COVID. It finally felt like some normalcy.” The Cavaliers started the night with two big defensive 3 and outs but mental mistakes and a turnover saw the Canes up on the Cavaliers 7-0 at the end of the first quarter. Then the momentum shifted in a major way as junior defensive tackle Jermaine Robinson (’23) blocked the Canes punt, which was picked up by junior linebacker Fernando Washington (’23) for the scoop and score, getting the Cavs on the board. The Cavs did not let up in the second quarter scoring 17 unanswered points to enter into the half up 17-7. Three of those points came from the leg of senior kicker Chepé Benjume (’22), who was also perfect in extra points and the field goal. This is Chepé’s first season as a football player; he was recruited by his teammates off the MDS soccer team. At the half, Coach Hatcher and his staff continued to iterate that the team had to be mentally and physically tough to finish off the game in the second half. The Cavs did not allow another score by the Canes and finished off the night with the 17-7 victory and the Week 1 win!

Coach Hatcher also previewed this week’s home opener matchup with in-town Southwest H.S. Hatcher commented, “This is a big game for our guys and our school as it is another opportunity to play an in-town school, which we have not played in a long time. Anytime we get a chance to line up and play ball against an in-town school we want to be prepared to play our best football.” Coach continued by explaining that the Cavs’ preparation during a Week 2 bye week was all focused on “eliminating mental mistakes” and focusing on fundamentals. He also mentioned that heat has continued to play a factor in preparation and practice as the Cavs have been beating the heat by having early morning practices to meet the Heat Policy Guidelines set by the GHSA and still get in padded practices. The Cavs will be well rested and prepared as they enter into this week’s home opener against the Patriots.