ONE SHALL STAND, ONE SHALL FALL
This Friday, for the first time since the opening week of the 2021 alt-fall football season, the Cashton football team will be playing a meaningful game.
The Eagles, which opened the year against conference rival Brookwood, have taken care of business up to this point in time, but will face their toughest challenge to date when they travel to Royall.
Here’s what fans need to know - both teams are undefeated.
For dramatic emphasis, let’s repeat that - both are undefeated.
For the Eagles, success heading into Week 6 is paramount as Cashton plays host to Bangor in the penultimate week of the season. Wins in these next two games would surely guarantee the Eagles at least a share of their first league title since 1998.
However, the path to success is a tough one. Royall enters this week with a dominating performance over Brookwood. The Panthers boast the league’s most productive running back tandem in Jameson Bender and Zephyr Turner. The duo have combined for over 1000 rushing yards over the course of the first four weeks of this shortened season.
The Panthers’ defense has kept teams out of the endzone as well, allowing just three touchdowns all season - two of which came in meaningless fourth quarter scores.
One factor in Friday’s game that coach Jered Hemmersbach needs to be concerned with is that of revenge.
Royall held the advantage over the Eagles in 2019, but surrendered it in the fourth quarter as Hemmersbach’s heroes staged a rousing comeback which ultimately allowed them to maintain their place within conference standings (second) and qualify for the playoffs after going winless the year before.
Cashton’s 14-13 win over the Panthers was one of two single-point wins by the Eagles in 2019 and one of six games that were decided by a single possession.
It’s safe to bet that Royall hasn’t forgotten what happened a year ago.
Royall’s Turner ran for 143 yards and a score on the Eagles the last time around and will be the focus of the defense this year also.
In a typical year, a game like this between Cashton and Royall would have a playoff-like feel to it. Both teams have already guaranteed themselves winning records on the year - the first for both programs in several seasons and both have yet to face perenniel power, Bangor.
A decade ago, Cashton defeated Royall 28-14 in the final week of the 2011 season.
Dominic Flock ran for 171 yards and a pair of scores in the win. Brett Von Ruden added a rushing score and Caleb Fernholz threw a TD to Brandon Schmitz to round out the scoring.
The Eagles went on to qualify for the Division 7 playoffs where they fell to De Soto 24-6.