Chance Graves and Alex Spangler delivered countless big plays to help the Eastern View football team outscore its opponents 249–29 on the way to a 5–0 start this season.
The Cyclones didn’t find the going quite as easy during Friday night’s Battlefield District road game at James Monroe. But when they needed big plays to swing the momentum in their favor, Graves and Spangler stepped up once again.
Graves accumulated 152 scrimmage yards and a score, while Spangler came up with a backbreaking touchdown catch in the third quarter to buoy Eastern View to a 35–7 victory.
The win keeps the Cyclones’ record perfect at 6–0 overall and 2–0 in the district, while the Yellow Jackets fall to 2–3, 0–1.
“Chance and Alex both stepped up big when the ball was in their hands,” Eastern View head coach Greg Hatfield said. “Sometimes when you don’t play your best football as a team, you need one or two guys to step up and pull you through. They did that tonight.”
The Cyclones fumbled six times, losing two—both of which stalled promising drives inside the JM 20-yard line. They also committed eight penalties for 70 yards.
Ironically, however, the two senior wide receivers made their big plays following Eastern View miscues.
With the score tied at 7 and the Cyclones backed up to their own 26 after a holding penalty on the previous play, Graves hauled in a 74-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Till Butler to give them a 14–7 lead with 7:14 remaining in the first half.
“Till always knows where to put the ball,” Graves said of his quarterback, who completed 6 of 10 passes for 168 yards and three scores. “His throw was on point there, and we needed that play in a close game.”
Graves wasn’t done.
Eastern View was flagged for delay of game before even getting a play off on its next drive. It hardly mattered though, because on first-and-15 from its own 30, Graves took a jet sweep handoff, found a crease on the right side and scampered for 68 yards to the Jackets’ 2.
Ronta Robinson dove in from two yards out on the next play, and the Cyclones took a 21–7 advantage into halftime.
Graves finished with 78 yards rushing to go along with his 74-yard touchdown catch.
“It’s always about whatever I can do to help the team win,” Graves said. “That isn’t always about catching touchdown passes—sometimes it’s running the ball when my number is called.”
Late in the third quarter, Spangler made his presence felt.
Following a holding penalty and back-to-back sacks of Butler by JM’s Andrew Williams, Eastern View faced third-and-41 at the Jackets’ 43. Butler fired a short screen pass to Spangler, who bobbed and weaved his way through the secondary for a 43-yard score and a 28–7 Cyclones lead.
“It was a jailbreak [screen], so three linemen kick out and pick up blocks on the cornerbacks and whoever else is coming up,” Spangler said. “I caught the ball, turned and saw the end zone.”
Spangler’s jailbreak was demoralizing for the Jackets, who felt they could go toe-to-toe with the Cyclones.
“We were hoping to get into a slugfest with them,” JM head coach Rich Serbay said. “But we were very worried about their capability to produce big plays. That’s what killed us—those big plays.”
Jackets quarterback Tahj Smith completed 13 of 24 passes for 141 yards, though 98 of it came in the first half. His fourth-quarter interception put the final nail in JM’s coffin, as Eastern View linebacker Drew Shurina returned it 47 yards for a touchdown with 3:22 remaining.
Serbay said Smith, a freshman, is still very much in the early stages of his development at the position.
“He made some tough throws and he made some bad throws,” Serbay said. “He’s learning, but it’s hard to do that against a team like Eastern View. They’re a heck of a football team and Greg Hatfield is a heck of a football coach.”
Aidan Ryan caught six passes for 74 yards for the Jackets, while Jawuan Fauntleroy rushed for 43 yards on 12 carries. His 3-yard score with 11:24 left in the second quarter tied the score at 7 at the time.
EV—Eli Harris 16-yard pass from Till Butler (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
JM—Jawuan Fauntleroy 3-yard run (Tomas Moreno kick).
EV—Chance Graves 74-yard pass from Till Butler (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
EV—Ronta Robinson 2-yard run (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
EV—Alex Spangler 43-yard pass from Till Butler (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
EV—Drew Shurina 47-yard interception return (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
RUSHING: Eastern View—Ronta Robinson 10-83, TD; Chance Graves 3-78, TD; Eli Harris 3-28; Drew Shurina 3-10; Alex Spangler 1-7; Butler 13-(-13); Team 2-(-9). James Monroe—Jawuan Fauntleroy 12-43, TD; Aidan Ryan 1-6; Deonte Curry 2-6; Dimario Brooks 3-2; Tahj Smith 9-(-42).
PASSING: Eastern View—Till Butler 6-10-0, 168 yards, 3 TDs. James Monroe—Tahj Smith 13-24-1, 141 yards.
RECEIVING: Eastern View—Chance Graves 1-74, TD; Alex Spangler 2-57, TD; Blake Leake 2-21; Eli Harris 1-16, TD. James Monroe—Aidan Ryan 6-74; Dimario Brooks 5-56; Tyler Whitman 1-8; Jawuan Fauntleroy 1-3.