Building a successful high school football program isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes a lot of time and hard work to create a winning culture which, in turn, develops into a tradition.
That culture and tradition was on full display Friday night at Eastern View, as the Cyclones crushed visiting Caroline 59-14 to earn the 100th win in program history.
The victory also served as Eastern View’s 41st consecutive regular-season triumph dating back to 2015.
The Cyclones’ passing game was in a groove early and often against the Cavaliers, as quarterback Till Butler completed 11 of 15 passes for 196 yards and five first-half touchdowns.
Butler tossed two of those scoring passes in the first quarter, each for 26 yards, to Chance Graves and Alex Spangler, respectively.
The Butler-to-Spangler connection, which has been a potent one all season for Eastern View (5-0 overall, 1-0 Battlefield District), reared its head again just 24 seconds into the second quarter for a 47-yard touchdown that pushed the Cyclones’ lead to 28-6.
Butler went on to hook up with Blake Leake for a pair of scores later in the stanza that gave Eastern View a 45-6 halftime advantage.
Leake hauled in five receptions for 65 yards on the night.
Butler said he was surprised at how focused Caroline (0-4, 0-1) was on stopping Eastern View’s running game, which opened up numerous opportunities for he and his receivers to make plays through the air.
“Defensively, they surprised us with their front,” he said. “The offensive line handled it great and the receivers did all of the work [getting open]. All I have to do is get them the ball.”
“[Caroline] loaded the box and challenged us to throw,” Cyclones head coach Greg Hatfield said. “Till stepped up and met that challenge. We were able to mix in the run, but if you can be versatile it makes you harder to defend.”
Eastern View also got touchdown runs by Ronta Robinson and Raq Lawson, a 70-yard kickoff return for a score by Graves and a 38-yard field goal by Garrett Hutchinson.
Caroline became the first opponent to score in the first half against Eastern View this season when fullback Sean Brannigan rumbled his way to a 65-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Brannigan finished with a team-high 77 yards on the ground for the Cavaliers, but they didn’t muster much offense to speak of otherwise.
Caroline running back Sivon Pleasants, who scored four times against King William a week ago, was held to just 51 yards on 15 carries, though he did register a fourth-quarter touchdown run. Quarterback Dalton Mauck struggled to find a rhythm throwing the ball, going 4-of-9 for 58 yards with an interception.
Cavaliers head coach Doug Allison spoke to his team at length following the loss and said it knows what it has to do moving forward.
“[Eastern View] is a great measuring stick for us because they’ve been district and regional champions,” Allison said. “When we watch the film, we’re going to see that we have to execute better to get to that level.”
On a night of celebration for how far Eastern View’s program has come since the school opened its doors in 2008, Cyclone Stadium was packed with alumni who helped the Cyclones reach the milestone.
“It was awesome to have all the alumni come back,” Hatfield said. “We got to 100 wins because of the players that play in our program and because of the assistant coaches we’ve had. We have so many good men in our program, both young and those of us that are a little older. I couldn’t be prouder to be associated with all of them.”
EV—Chance Graves 26-yard pass from Till Butler (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
EV—Ronta Robinson 5-yard run (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
EV—Alex Spangler 26-yard pass from Till Butler (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
Ca—Sean Brannigan 65-yard run (run failed).
EV—Alex Spangler 47-yard pass from Till Butler (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
EV—Garrett Hutchinson 38-yard field goal.
EV—Blake Leake 10-yard pass from Till Butler (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
EV—Blake Leake 5-yard pass from Till Butler (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
EV—Chance Graves 70-yard kick return (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
EV—Raq Lawson 6-yard run (Garrett Hutchinson kick).
Ca—Sivon Pleasants 5-yard run (Mauck pass).
RUSHING: Caroline—Sivon Pleasants 15-51, TD; Sean Brannigan 3-77, TD; John Chapman 1-19; Justin White 2-8; Dominque Washington 2-8; Dalton Mauck 4-(-19). Eastern View—Ronta Robinson 4-41, TD; Raq Lawson 9-22, TD; Deuce Washington 3-10; Eli Harris 1-5; Jalen Woodward 1-4; Till Butler 2-(-18).
PASSING: Caroline—Dalton Mauck 4-9-1, 58 yards. Eastern View—Till Butler 11-15-0, 196 yards, 5 TDs.
RECEIVING: Caroline—Sivon Pleasants 1-40; Avery Delisi 2-12; Sean Brannigan 1-6. Eastern View—Blake Leake 5-65, 2 TDs; Alex Spangler 2-73, 2 TDs; Chance Graves 2-39, TD; Nick Martin 1-15; Eli Harris 1-4.