Second half surge leads Cambridge into Final Four
Trailing 14-12 at halftime against Section VII's Moriah, the Indians needed to find a way to slow down the Vikings and pull away if they wanted to secure a spot in the state semifinals.
The halftime break must have done Cambridge some good because they dominated the second half en route to a 54-20 win over Moriah at AuSable Valley High School.
Coming out of halftime, the Indians didn't waste much time as they drove the ball down the field and finished off a scoring drive with a Colton Dean one-yard touchdown run. The Vikings would retaliate on the next play from scrimmage as Moriah quarterback Dylan Trombley found Dewey Snyder for a 46-yard touchdown pass. On the ensuing drive running back Jonas Butz would break off a 32-yard touchdown run to give Cambridge a lead it would not surrender.
The Indians would go on to dominate both sides of the ball for most of the second half and kept the opponent scoreless for the rest of the game.
Cambridge coach Doug Luke didn't do anything special at halftime that caused the change in play, but pointed to the importance of getting the ball on the outside of field to open up some holes for the offense.
"We really didn't make a whole lot of adjustments," Luke said of his team's play in the second second half. "We just wanted to get to the outside more. We figured it we did that, space happens inside. We made some really good blocks. Tough night out here, but the kids did well."
Some opportune defense played a major role in the Indians second half surge. Cambridge had struggled in the first half to slow down Trombley, who was 6-for-11 and passed for 116 yards in the first two quarters. In the second half, they had his number as he threw two interceptions and completed just seven of 19 passes.
The pair of interceptions, one by Hunter Day and the other by Tyler Linendoll, set the Indians up with great field position. When Cambridge has had that luxury this season, they have rarely failed to execute. Both Day and Linendoll's interceptions led to scores.
"It's a game of momentum, and things started going for us," Luke said. "Field position started turning our way, and we took advantage of it. Then they made a few mistakes trying to get back quickly, and that really hurt them."
Early in the fourth, Cambridge sealed off another mistake from the Vikings when Zack Rowland picked up a fumble and rumbled 55 yards for a score.
Rowland was efficient passing the ball for the Indians, going 5-for-8 and throwing for 55 yards, but once again, it was the running game that drove Cambridge forward, especially in the second half.
The four-headed monster of Tommy English, Butz, Linendoll and Dean, all contributed on the ground. English led the squad with 170 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Lindendoll had two scores of his own on 61 yards rushing. Dean and Butz both ran for 41 yards. Dean had two touchdowns, while Butz had one.
English pointed to how important is for the Indians to have such balance in their offensive attack.
"It's nice to know you have somebody to count on," English said. "It's a good feeling that if you need a break, somebody will come in and put their heart on the field for you."
Cambridge will play Millbrook, the Section IX champion, on Friday afternoon at Middletown High School in the state semifinals. Millbrook were 42-20 winners over Tuckahoe in the other East Region quarterfinal.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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