ONA — It didn’t take long for Cabell Midland to turn Homecoming 2019 into a success on Friday night.
J.J. Roberts took the first play from scrimmage for a 44-yard touchdown and the Knights never looked back en route to a 54-7 win over Princeton to celebrate Homecoming at Knights Stadium.
After the game, Cabell Midland’s team chanted, “Coach! Coach! Coach!” for head coach Luke Salmons as he was honored with a plaque commemorating Friday night’s win — the 77th of his career with the Knights, which set the program’s all-time wins record.
“Great group of kids,” Salmons said of the honor. “They’re a great team and we’ve always been blessed with kids who are tough and buy in to what I’m preaching because if they don’t, I’m not effective. We’ve got good coaches, good players and the kids work extremely hard for these moments. We love those kids.”
The only drama left at halftime of this contest was who would be crowned Homecoming Queen — an honor that went to Mikayla Ferguson.
Prior to that announcement, Roberts accounted for five first-half touchdowns as the Knights rolled to a big lead early and never looked back. He finished with 169 yards rushing and did not play the second half.
In addition to the opening touchdown, Roberts added an 11-yard scoring run, a 17-yard scoring toss to Zach McCoy and a 34-yard scoring run in which he fumbled the snap but kept his composure and allowed blockers to develop.
Roberts was not the only Cabell Midland rusher to see success.
Fullback Jakob Caudill also rushed for 169 yards to go over 1,000 yards on the season while Jacob Wroten added a pair of 10-yard touchdown runs in the first half.
Caudill said the 1-2 punch that he and Roberts have formed is not by accident.
“We have a great connection of working together,” Caudill said. “When nobody else is looking, we’re still out here putting in work and doing what we have to do for this team.”
Cabell Midland rolled up 462 yards in the first half — 417 on the ground — with 20 of 29 offensive plays going for 10 yards or more. The Knights finished with 541 yards on 51 plays.
Much of that credit goes to the offensive line, which only returned one starter from last year’s team, but has rolled over the opposition this season.
“The O-line is ridiculous and they get all the credit,” Roberts said. “There’s no way we could do this without them. It’s just been the hard work in the weight room and working on their steps. Everything they do is to help this team.”
Salmons added that it was a line that had a chip on its shoulder coming into the season.
“A lot of people said we wouldn’t be very good up front,” Salmons said. “We heard it all year, but we’re 190, 190 and 210, but they are tough. We’ve got tough kids who work hard and they have controlled the line of scrimmage against everybody. They are getting better every week.”
Roberts and Caudill added that Salmons was the difference in keeping the team focused and together when injuries crept in during the early part of the season, as well.
“We’re blessed to have a coach like what he is and to have the mentality he puts in our heads,” Caudill said.
While the Knights’ offense had no trouble, Princeton’s passing game was never able to get on track behind freshman Grant Cochran.
The true freshman never had time to get comfortable in the pocket and struggled to a 5-of-19 performance for only 8 yards through the air. He was sacked three times and threw one interception.
Jackson Fetty had the interception for Cabell Midland and added a pair of pass breakups as well in an impressive performance.
Princeton’s Amir Powell snapped the shutout in the third quarter when he broke three tackles and rumbled 70 yards for a score.
PRINCETON 0 0 7 0 — 7
CABELL MIDLAND 35 19 0 0 — 54
CM — J.J. Roberts 44 run (Cam Grobe kick)
CM — Jacob Wroten 10 run (Grobe kick)
CM — Roberts 11 run (Grobe kick)
CM — Zach McCoy 17 pass from Roberts (Grobe kick)
CM — Roberts 54 run (Grobe kick)
CM — Hayden Hass 6 run (kick blocked)
CM — Wroten 10 run (Grobe kick)
CM — Roberts 45 run (kick failed)
P — Amir Powell 70 run (Dorian Webster kick)
Total yards 38-134 51-541
First downs 4 24
Rushing-yards 19-126 46-496
Comp-Att-Int 5-19-1 2-5-0
Passing yards 8 45
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-2
Penalties-Yds 4-46 5-45
RUSHING: Princeton — Powell 8-96, TD; Smith 6-34; Cochran 4-(-1); Honaker 1-(-3). Cabell Midland — J. Roberts 8-169, 4 TDs; Caudill 12-169; Hass 4-50, TD; Cummings 9-41; Wroten 3-29, 2 TDs; Hill 4-21; Z. Roberts 3-8; Smith 1-5; Wolfe 2-4.
PASSING: Princeton — Cochran 5-19, 8 yards, INT. Cabell Midland — Roberts 2-5, 45 yards, TD.
RECEIVING: Princeton — Jenkins 2-9; Martin 1-8; Honaker 2-(-8). Cabell Midland — Dragovich 1-28; McCoy 1-17, TD.