Hard, but not impossible.
On Thursday at Lakeview, the Eagles bore their claws and ripped through the Warriors’ offense in an absolutely dominant defensive performance.
Chattanooga Valley held Lakeview to minus-37 yards of offense and zero first downs in a 37-8 NGAC league victory, which moved them to 2-1 on the season.
The Warriors ran 21 offensive plays, only six of which resulted in positive yardage. Lakeview’s minus-37 yards came on the ground on 20 rushing attempts. The Warriors’ lone pass attempt was intercepted.
Lakeview’s only points came on a fumble return for a score.
The last two results have been a far cry from the Eagles’ 40-14 season-opening loss to Trion on Sept. 13.
“Trion had already played a game prior to that one and we hadn’t,” said CVMS head coach Nicky Peppers. “We were really nervous coming into that game, and the six turnovers we had didn’t help. But getting that game under our belts has helped us understand that we can be a really good football team.”
Peppers credits improvement by the linebackers as a key to the turnaround.
“The last two weeks, our linebackers have really stepped up, especially Tyler Cutts,” Peppers continued. “He’s become an animal on defense, and when your linebackers are playing like he is, you can hold a team down. It’s been good to see.”
Chattanooga Valley opened the game with an 8-play, 63-yard drive, capped by Ivy Boehm’s 12-yard scoring run, and the Eagles found the end zone three times in the second quarter.
Markeion Jones hauled in a 44-yard TD pass from Blaine Phillips, Boehm ran it in from three yards outs, and Phillips scored on a 4-yard run in the closing seconds of the half to extend the lead to 30-0.
Lakeview’s defense finally got the home team on the board as Charles Davis returned a fumble 87 yards early in the fourth, but CVMS came right back with quick 64-yard drive. Cutts did the honors from 13 yards out before Dalton Shields converted the extra point kick.
Seven different CVMS runners finished with double figures in yards as they combined for 214 yards on 42 carries. Boehm had 55 yards on 12 carries, Phillips picked up 46 yards on seven carries, and Cutts had 39 yards on seven carries.
The Eagles added 85 more yards through the air.
“We’ve got a lot of weapons, and it’s hard to get everybody the ball, although we did our best tonight to get it to everybody we could,” Peppers added. “The power game was working, and when it is, we can really drive the ball, but we’ve also got speed on the corners if we want to go that way.”
Cutts had an interception for the Eagles, while Markieth Montgomery added a sack and recovery on a muffed Lakeview kick return.
The Eagles will play their first home game on Thursday against Gordon Lee (0-2). The Trojans will take the field on Monday at home against Dade County in a make-up game.
The Gordon Lee-Dade County game was originally slated for Sept. 13, but had to be postponed when officials failed to show up.