published Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Blue Raiders throttle Trojans

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Before the 2011 football season, Cleveland High School sophomore receiver D.J. Jones admitted he was "nervous" playing alongside All-America quarterback Chad Voytik.

Eight games later, the two appear to have made a connection and the nerves seem to be gone.

Jones finished with 103 yards receiving and three touchdowns on four catches Friday, and the Blue Raiders rushed for 277 yards in a 44-20 District 5-AAA win over Soddy-Daisy.

Cleveland (4-4, 2-2) wore pink socks in promoting breast cancer awareness.

"I feel more confident on the field, and I think [Voytik] has more confidence in me," said Jones, who scored on catches of 43, 16 and 19 yards. "The first few games, I felt the pressure on the field, but now that I've got more experience, there are no more [nerves]."

Voytik's confidence was no more evident than on the last touchdown toss, when he rifled the ball among three defenders. Jones outworked one of the Trojans for the score.

"That was my favorite catch just because I didn't think I had it," Jones said.

C.J. Bryant led the Raiders in rushing with 129 yards on 21 carries and the game's first score, and David Morgan had 64 yards and two touchdowns. Jonathan Terrero had 48 yards rushing and a 28-yard score for Cleveland.

"We put a lot of eggs in the basket that we would be able to run off tackle tonight, but the kids came out and responded," Cleveland coach E.K. Slaughter said.

The Raiders made a concerted effort to stop Soddy-Daisy tailback Cedric Edwards, who rushed for more than 300 yards in last year's meeting. He was limited to 12 yards rushing but had a 65-yard kickoff return for a score, when he received a lateral from Zach Keller reminiscent of the Tennessee Titans in 1999.

That score cut Cleveland's halftime lead to 26-14, but the Trojans committed four second-half turnovers -- three fumbles and an interception -- leading to 18 Cleveland points.

The Trojans' Spencer Stewart had 30 yards rushing and scored on a 20-yard run in the second quarter, but as a team Soddy-Daisy (3-5, 2-4) finished with only seven first downs and 140 yards of total offense.

"They were just way more physical than us tonight," Trojans coach Kevin Orr said. "Their second team was pounding our first team out there. We thought we had something going at halftime, but then had three straight fumbles to start the second half."

Orr said he expected Cleveland would try to take Edwards out of the game and said "we had a plan prepared, but it fell apart."

The Raiders will face crosstown rival Bradley Central next Friday in a game to be nationally televised on ESPNU.

"We haven't mentioned the 'B' word all year, but I guess we won't have a choice now, will we?" Slaughter said.

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