After two weeks of 'great practices,' Cumby returns to 17-A action against Melissa
Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Oct. 14, 2004 - CUMBY - After getting a much needed bye week, the Cumby Trojans return to the gridiron Friday night to continue District 17-A play against the Melissa Cardinals at Trojan Field.

"It was an enjoyable week because we had some of our best practices last week," coach Kent Hawthorne said. "We went out everyday and practiced hard, and they came out with a good attitude and prepared for Melissa."

Cumby goes into the game as a 24-point favorite by the Harris Ratings system with a record of 2-4 overall and 0-2 in district play.

Coach Rick Gagarine's Cardinals are 3-4 overall and 0-3 in district play in their first varsity football season.

"We need this win just for our own confidence because we felt like we were a pretty good football team early and through some injuries and other situations that have happened, we aren't looking much like a good team right now," Hawthorne said.

Melissa is led by sophomore quarterback Kaleb Kaetterhenry (5-10, 150 pounds), who leads the team in rushing with 454 yards and three touchdowns and also is 44-of-113 for 439 yard with two touchdowns and six interceptions.

"We are going to put some pressure on him and hope he makes some mistakes," Hawthorne said. "We know that he is a pretty good runner, and he throws the ball pretty good."

Hawthorne believes one of the keys to the Trojans picking up their third win of the season is to win the turnover battle and be able to outplay Melissa.

"In the films that we have and with us watching them Friday night, they have their offense set and their defense set and they are just trying to improve at it," Hawthorne said. "We are going to try and outplay them and do what we do right and hopefully they will make some mistakes and we will go from there."

Sophomore running back Wade Saxon is another player the Trojans will look to contain with his eight rushing touchdowns in seven games.

"We think that our next two opponents (Melissa and Detroit) we match up with pretty well and we just have to see who wants it the most and who makes the least amount of mistakes," Hawthorne said.

Senior football captain Nick Dyer is out for the remainder of the season with a broken collarbone suffered during the Celeste game, and Hawthorne said that was one of the toughest losses this season.

"Nick was one of our team leaders as was voted on by his fellow teammates and had probably his best year that he has ever had in football," Hawthorne said. "I hate to lose a senior in their first district game of the year and them have to sit out for the remaining four games of the year."

Dyer was the team's leading receiver and was second in tackles this season for the Trojans in five games.

Hawthorne said the kids are prepared for Friday night's game after having crisp practices the last two weeks, and that they would love to win out this season with four games remaining.

"We had a great practices week last week and this week and the kids are still coming out and working hard and we think we have a real good chance of beating Melissa," Hawthorne said. "If we can win out and Boles can win out, it would make a three-way tie for second place and we would need some breaks to go our way the rest of the year."

The remaining District 17-A match-ups Friday night have Detroit (0-3) at Wolfe City (2-0), Quinlan Boles (2-0) travels to Celeste (3-0) for a battle of unbeatens, while Rivercrest has a bye.

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