Football team fumbles, but comes back strong

By Noah Kemper and Holden Cole, Writer

The Cleveland Warriors knew that their season had become a steep uphill climb just seconds after Nathan Thai was taken off the field following a major knee injury on the first play of the season. The Warriors have suffered three straight losses. They lost 56-0 to the Aloha Warriors, lost 60-14 to the Century Jaguars, and lost 48-7 to the Wilson Trojans, but the motivation that lies within many of the Warrior players is enough to keep the fans watching.
The likely season-ending injury to the starting running back, Nathan Thai, is not something that the Cleveland team will easily recover from, but the injury forces and inspires other players to step up in order to fill the void. The players that are forced to step up are not just the backup running backs, but players from every part of the team.
With one primary scoring threat gone, the workload falls to quarterback Jake Cashion who must pass better, and backup running back Colton Lish, who was expected to split time with Thai, who must step up. The offensive line must figure out how to give the quarterback more time while improving their run blocking, and the defense needs to stop allowing so many big plays that have burned them so many times this season. The Cleveland Warriors clearly have their work set out for them.
One player that the Cleveland fans can clearly see on the field leading the charge is sophomore Jake Cashion, the new starting quarterback for the Warriors. In Cleveland’s second game against the Century Jaguars, Cashion connected with his receivers on 15 of his 28 attempts for a total of 141 yards. Cashion’s success stems from his awareness on the field. If the pass is not an option, Cashion knows exactly the time and place to run the ball down the field himself, and he does so surprisingly well for his age. Cashion ran for a couple first downs during the game against Century and ran through contact on both drives. At times Cashion takes risks. Cashion threw three interceptions during the game against Century, though most were thrown long after the game was considerably out of reach.
Cashion spoke his mind on the state of the team. “We can’t control what we can’t control, like Nathan’s injury, but we can control how we handle an injury on our team,” said Cashion. “We should’ve been more ready for an injury in our first few games. Right now we can control the little things, and it’s the little things that are hurting us. Stuff like miscommunication on defense and sloppiness is not good for our team. If we start to control the little things, I think that we will do some good things this season.”
Thai’s injury is a bad one for the team, but having Lish as a backup running back is a blessing. Lish ran for 141 yards on 26 rushing attempts in the game against Wilson on Sept. 18, an average of around five and a half yards per attempt. Wide receivers Ethan Smith and Aidan Nostrand have been reliable downfield threats so far this season. And tight end Wyatt Star, rounding out the passing game, gives Cashion more than one playmaker to get the ball to. Cashion connected with Nostrand for a late game touchdown against Century, while Smith had over 100 yards on the day.
Despite Cleveland’s shaky start, the Warriors’ returning veterans and motivated young players will improve their team chemistry and performance as the season goes on. The Warriors won’t back down from a good challenge, and the Cleveland Warrior fans will cheer on the team until things start to come together.