The Cleveland Blue Raiders used a staunch defense and a high-powered offense to push past Wilson Central, 33-13, at Benny Monroe Stadium on Friday night.
Cleveland improves to 3-1, with the only loss coming at the hands of McCallie. Wilson Central falls to 2-2.
The Blue Raiders trailed early, 7-0, but scored the next 17 points of the first half.
Parker Smith had a long reception, but lost the ball to a Wildcat defender, then Cleveland held. A Wildcat punt went out of bounds at the Cleveland 3-yard-line. Cleveland responded with a booming Zach Lee punt to the Wilson Central 14.
The Blue Raiders were in good field position after a Wildcat punt only went to the Wilson Central 40-yard-line. A pass to a streaking D.J. Jones down the left sideline got the ball to the five. Then quarterback Austin Herink ran it in on third down and goal to give the Blue Raiders a tie.
Wilson Central's outstanding kicker Brad Cavanaugh tried a 52-yard field goal and had the distance, but it was wide left. Then Oscar Galvan knocked in a 20-yarder to put Cleveland up 10-7.
Darius Pillow pounced on a fumble on the next kickoff, giving the Blue Raiders good field position again. A pass interference call on a toss to Tyler Davis gave Cleveland the ball near the goal line. Herink tossed a pass to Parker Smith on the left side for the score.
Wilson Central, playing without starting quarterback Jordan Roundtree who was injured near the end of the first half, marched down the field early in the second half to again make it close. Weston Rountree got the TD after going around the right side untouched.
Cleveland answered as Herink hit Eric Goodwin over the middle. After a gain on a pass to T.J. Parker, D.J. Jones ran it in to put the Blue Raiders ahead 24-13.
Another fine Lee punt pinned Wilson Central on their own 5-yard-line. Then the Cleveland defense earned two points with a tackle of backup quarterback Cody Ray in the end zone.
Wilson Central got a fumble recovery, but the Cleveland defense again held. Parker had a long run to the Wildcat 43 and Herink followed with a pass to Parker to the 2-yard-line. Herink carried it across for the final Cleveland tally.