CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Cleveland played the type of football game Friday night against Soddy-Daisy that Blue Raiders coach Marty Wheeler would normally expect to lose.
Five fumbles, two lost. An interception. Some mental breakdowns that led to a few of the Trojans' big plays.
And the Blue Raiders won by 27 points.
Cleveland rushed for 284 yards and used a couple of big plays in the passing game to beat the Trojans 41-14 at Benny Monroe Stadium.
Class 6A's Blue Raiders (2-2) went running back by committee with junior Tetoe Boyd out with an injury. Markel McKinley rushed for 83 yards but also lost two fumbles, including one that was recovered by Soddy-Daisy's Donovan Sullivan in the end zone to cut Cleveland's lead to 21-14 with 1:25 to go in the third quarter.
Freshmen Brian Beard Jr. and Mycah Jordan combined for 118 yards, with Jordan doing most of his damage on a 63-yard run and Beard scoring twice on eight carries. Jordan also caught a pass for a first down.
"Our kids are not going to lie down or quit," Wheeler said. "They've proven that already. We just stuck to what we do and we didn't panic, and at halftime our coaches did a really good job of making adjustments offensively and defensively.
"We just continued what we were doing, and those guys did a nice job in the second half. I'm really proud of them."
Class 5A's Soddy-Daisy (1-3) ran the ball nine times in the second half, with five of those carries netting negative yardage. The Trojans were held to 40 yards of total offense in the final 24 minutes.
Cleveland's Destun Flowers caught two touchdown passes and had 101 yards on three receptions, and Gage Kinsey threw for 163 yards.
The Trojans were held to 140 yards of total offense, including 18 on the ground on 19 carries. Isaac Barnes passed for 121 yards, including a nice hookup with receiver Will Ackerman that covered 41 yards and tied the game in the second quarter.
"We're just a little inexperienced, kind of learning football as we go," Soddy-Daisy coach Justin Barnes said. "We've got some playmakers that can do some things, it's just being consistent, and that's where we struggle, and we're getting into game four now, so you can't make an excuse any longer.
"We've just got to continue to prop them up and get them better and be able to sustain some drives, which we have not done all year."