CMHS has new kids on the 'block'
ONA -- Cabell Midland has some new kids who can block.
Fans might have concentrated on the dazzling cuts of the Knights' running backs as they zigged and zagged through the Riverside secondary Friday night in high school football, but those electrifying runs were made possible by an offensive line that dominated in its season debut.
Cabell Midland replaced four offensive line starters lost to graduation and the front five blocked like veterans in a 63-13 victory.
"We replaced a lot of kids," Knights coach Luke Salmons said. "I'm excited about what we did up front. It all starts there and we were good there."
Cabell Midland's offensive line blew open enough holes for Knights runners to rush for 437 yards on 39 carries. That's an average of a first down per attempt at 11.2 yards. Cabell Midland quarterback Coy Pettit had ample time to throw during his eight attempts, completing five passes for 106 yards, an average of 21.2 yards per completion.
Senior tackle Nathan Jefferson (6-foot-4, 260 pounds) is the team's lone returning starter on the offensive front. He is joined by junior center Lucas Jacobs (6-3, 270), senior guards Jacob Adams (6-3, 295) and Tyler Cogar (5-11, 245) and junior tackle Tanner Sweeney (6-1, 225).
The offensive line is considerably larger than last year. Salmons, a former guard at Marshall University, likes the size his blockers possess.
"We're big," Salmons said. "In the past, we've had some guys who were 205, 210. Now we run 270, 280. They're true linemen. They're strong, big kids"
Big and strong, but not perfect. Game one was a success, but Salmons said he knows his players are seeking improvement each week. The overmatched Warriors didn't offer a tremendous challenge.
"We'll get better," Salmons said. "This was a good start. Our varsity guys played for two quarters. They played hard and when we got up they didn't loaf."
Two quarters were plenty as Cabell Midland scored on its first seven possessions. Senior Alex Childers ran for 136 yards on just six carries. Caperton Humphrey ran for 88 on eight tries and Jacob Hendricks ran four times for 76 yards. Four other Knights averaged better than six yards per rush on limited touches.
The Knights enter Friday's 7:30 p.m. home game with Winfield as a heavy favorite. Cabell Midland defeated the Generals 63-19 last season and this Winfield team was beaten by Riverside in a scrimmage. The Generals are coming off a 28-0 loss at Woodrow Wilson.
"Winfield's well coached," Salmons said. "They'll be ready to play us. We have to get ready. They'll play hard."
Winfield gave up 392 yards to Woodrow Wilson, surrendering 183 in the air and 109 on the ground. The Generals, meanwhile, gained just 133 yards, including a mere 24 rushing.