Cavs senior night spoiled by Rebels shutout

Published | Oct 20, 2023

By Jacob Zimmerman

Icard- The late season struggles continued in Catawba Valley Conference play for the East Burke football team Thursday night in their shutout loss to West Lincoln.

By a 26-0 final, the Cavalier offense stagnated on the gridiron, and a few big plays sparked a
victory for the visiting Rebels.

“Our guys aren’t quitting, they’re continuing to fight and that’s a really good, tough, physical
team. We held our own early on…and then [West Lincoln] just wore on us a little bit,” said East
Burke head coach Derrick Minor.

“Sophomores are all over the field right now…and those young guys can learn from these experiences.”

East Burke began the night aggressively by electing to receive on a winning coin toss and
going for it on a 4th and 1 from their own 40-yard line on the game’s opening drive. A rush
attempt up the middle resulted in a turnover on downs as Cavs sophomore running back Zayne
Newman had no lane to follow.

West Lincoln took full advantage of the short field, completing a seven-play drive that resulted in a 10-yard jet sweep score from wideout Jj Phansook, making it 7-0 with 5:28 left in the first quarter.

The rush-first approach began to develop for East Burke on their next possession. The drive
featured one of Newman’s best carries of the day, as the running back broke away from two tackles to cross midfield in a 20-yard burst.

Later in the drive in an attempt to tie things up early, the Cavs had two mistakes in the pass game. Sophomore QB Calvin Vue was handed a pair of sacks, ending the drive with a second consecutive turnover on downs.

As the second quarter got underway, East Burke’s defense had one of their best stands of the
night, pushing the Rebels offense off the field in just four plays.

The Cavs third drive started deep on their own 17-yard line, and momentum failed to pick up
despite a clutch draw play on 3rd and 14 from Newman that squeaked out a first down.

The drive ended on an East Burke punt and a 15-yard penalty aided the field position for West Lincoln, taking over near midfield.

The defensive slugfest began to turn one-sided, as the Cavs defense witnessed big plays slice
through their formation.

A 45-yard QB keeper via a triple option from Gideon Allen set up the eventual second punch.

Jaylin Winnex found the endzone on back-to-back carries for his first of two touchdowns. A missed extra point left the Rebels with a 13-0 lead.

East Burke looked to counter by setting up the two-minute drill offense, where they showed a
higher frequency of pass plays.

One toss through the air from Vue connected along the home sideline to junior Cannon Morrison for a 15-yard first down. The drive shortly came to a close though, and disaster struck for East Burke on the ensuing punt.

With under 60 seconds to go in the second quarter, Winnex found the edge and dusted the
Cavs coverage team on the way to a 69-yard touchdown return, creating a 20-point cushion at
the halftime break after a blocked point after kick.

West Lincoln received the ball to start the third quarter, and to make matters worse for East
Burke, the Rebels lead snowballed into a greater one.

A 5-play, 65-yard drive drove the score to 26-0 with 9:41 left in the quarter after a six-yard TD run from Allen, set up by a 50-yard run by Winnex that broke two Cavalier tackles.

The next possession for East Burke went for double digits in the play count and crossed into
West Lincoln territory once again.

Newman and junior fullback Darren Hammons offered a one-two punch, trading first downs in a series of dust clouds. The flow of the offense was halted, however, with another sack taken from Vue, followed by a snap that went through the quarterback’s hands resulting in a 3rd a 27.

For the third time on the night, the Cavs would turn it over on downs.

In the fourth quarter, time started to wane away for East Burke, however, a few defensive plays
from the Cavs ended things on a high note.

The defense answered back after a 40-yard completion from Allen when a seam route toward the end zone was intercepted by senior defensive back Mason Robison.

“For him to get that on senior night… I love seeing a kid like him have some positives that
he can take off the field from tonight… Late in the game, they’re up by four touchdowns and still
throwing the ball so it was nice to kind of get them back with an interception.”

Junior Jordan Fox also shined some light on what was a dark evening for East Burke. The
linebacker had a sack and a tackle for loss to prevent the Rebels from piling on in their final two
drives of the contest.

Fox led in tackles (14) followed by seniors Levi Coble (5), Hammons (5), Robison (4), and Brady Bostain (4).

The 26-0 final marked the second-largest loss of 2023 for East Burke, and their seventh straight
loss on the season. At 2-7, the Cavs could have their best shot to capture a conference
victory next Friday when they travel to West Caldwell, who is also winless in Catawba Valley

“We gotta come back focused, ready to go. Cannot take any opponent lightly, so we gotta be
ready and healthy.”

East Burke seniors (photo by Big Red Sports Network, contributed by Erin Wall)

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