Thursday Night Lights: East Rutherford vs. R-S Central

Thursday Night Lights: East Rutherford vs. R-S Central 

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The battle for Rutherford County is this week’s showcase for “Thursday Night Lights” on MY 40 – East Rutherford at R-S Central to open Southwestern 2-A Conference play for both teams.

And it may come down to a pair of defensive stalwarts who have put up impressive numbers in non-conference play.

The Cavaliers (4-2) are led by middle linebacker Cade Hamilton, who has double-digit tackles in all six games.

He has 88 stops, including 18 tackles for loss.

“He’s an outstanding linebacker. He finished up last year with over 170 tackles, and he’s having another great season for us,” said East Rutherford coach Clint Bland.

R-S (2-4) has allowed a lot of points (217) despite the strong play on inside linebacker Damarcus Johnson, the team’s only returning starter on defense.

He has 74 tackles, 11 for losses.

“Damarcus is the heart and soul of what we are trying to do on defense,” said first-year R-S Central coach Brad Hutchins.

Hamilton’s job of slowing down the Hilltoppers’ offense may be made easier with the news that R-S Central’s biggest offensive threat will not play.

Due to disciplinary reasons, Hutchins has benched quarterback Jayden Waddell, a dual threat who has produced 10 touchdowns while throwing for 507 yards and rushing for 480 yards.

Hutchins said wingback Hunter Bradley will step in under center.

Offensively, Demetrius Mauney is the workhorse for East Rutherford, with 81 carries for 769 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“He’s a junior who has played varsity since he was a freshman. It’s no secret, we feed him the ball, and Central knows who they have to stop,” said Bland.

The Cavaliers have played well defensively in its four wins, holding each opponent to 14 points or less.

R-S Central has struggled defensively in its four losses against a tough schedule, losing to three teams that are or have been ranked in the WLOS WNC Top 10 Football Poll - Mitchell, Pisgah and Polk County.

The Hilltoppers have allowed an average of 47 points in their four losses.

The series has been close over the past 10 years, with East Rutherford holding a 6-4 edge. The Cavaliers, considered underdogs last season, prevailed 7-0 in overtime in a defensive slugfest.

While East Rutherford is considered the favorite this year, coach Bland – who has played and coached in this rivalry for a quarter century or more – said you can forget about won-loss records.

“You can be 10-0 or 0-10, it doesn’t matter,” he said. “This is a rivalry game, the kids are going to be up and even more excited to be on TV, and it’s a big one for both teams.”

The rivalry battle for Rutherford County was no contest as East Rutherford rolled to a 47-0 win over R-S Central in "Thursday Night Lights" action on MY 40.

The Cavaliers (5-2, 1-0) used big plays to dominate the game in their Southwestern 2-A Conference opener.

Demetrius Mauney rushed 14 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns, while Calvin Jones scored on a 70-yard run. Jones finished 93 yards and two scores.

East Rutherford, winning for the seventh time in its last 11 games against the Hilltoppers (2-5, 0-1), also scored on a blocked punt and a fumble recovery.

R-S Central played without starting quarterback Jayden Waddell, the team's leading rusher and passer who was benched for disciplinary reasons.

Another county rivalry is featured next on "Thursday Night Lights" when West Henderson travels to North Henderson in a 7 pm kickoff on MY 40 on Oct. 12.

You can check out the highlights below:

And don't forget to check out our plays of the week!

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