Buoyed by an electric home crowd, Reseda (2-1) forced turnovers and made big plays on offense to take down Cleveland (2-1) 36–6 to bring home the Reseda Cup in what was a chippy game throughout on Friday night.
“You expect it a little bit,” said Regents head coach Alonso Arreola after the game. “Football is an emotional game, even without the rivalry being in play.”
The emotions seemed to get to the Cavaliers early. On the first play of the game, a high pitch over the head of Cleveland running back Caleb McCarty led to an 11-yard scoop-and-score by Reseda sophomore Keiun Harris. Reseda opened a 20-0 lead.
After starting the second quarter with another fumble, the Cavaliers’ offense got a second chance when senior Kariem Muhammad intercepted a pass from quarterback Trent Butler at his own 23-yard line. On the next play, Muhammad found the sideline and sprinted for a 77-yard touchdown to make it 20-6. But after allowing a touchdown heading into halftime, Cleveland’s first series of the second half ended with a safety after a bad snap went over the punter and rolled through the back of the end zone.
Despite forcing three turnovers, Cleveland could not keep the balanced attack of Reseda from taking over. Senior receiver Dranel Rhodes finished with five catches for 63 yards and ran for a 10-yard touchdown on a double-reverse. Sophomore receiver Jason Wagner added four catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. Butler completed 11 of 17 passes for 180 yard and another courtesy of a two-yard run, along with two interceptions.
“Heading into this game, we knew the circumstances,” said Rhodes, who played in the Reseda Cup game two seasons ago. “This game was personal to us.”
Coming into the matchup, Cleveland had not lost a fumble all season, but Friday night, fumbles, penalties and bad snaps kept the Cavaliers’ from having enough time on offense. Muhammad, who came into the game with 343 yards rushing, finished with just six carries and 84 yards, with a calf injury limiting him to one second half carry. McCarty, a junior, came into the game with 290 yards. He finished with 39 yards in 10 carries.
“I don’t think it was their defense, it was our execution,” said first-year coach Scott Faer. “Our energy was great, but our play was just off.”
Next week, the Regents will take their two-game winning streak on the road against Palisades. For Cleveland, the Cavaliers will play Hamilton before taking on San Pedro.