Before the Harvest Bowl Friday night, the Cavaliers honored the 50th anniversary of the 1969 team's undefeated season
A blocked punt helped change the momentum of Middletown's home opener against Smyrna in the Harvest Bowl Friday night, and then the Cavs made a big defensive stand and a key interception on their way to a 17-6 victory.
The Eagles were leading 6-0 in the second quarter and had the ball at their own 40 when the Cavs' defense set up the first key play with a little help from the Eagles. First, a holding call cost Smyrna 10 yards to the 30. Then a sack by the Cavaliers pushed the line of scrimmage back to the 17.
On fourth down, the Eagles lined up as if they were going to run a regular play, but instead, the quarterback took a few steps to the side with the ball and then tried to punt. But because of pressure from the Cavaliers, the punt bounced off the defensive line, and Middletown took over on Smyrna's 10-yard line.
Then Middletown scored on a 10-yard pass from Braden Davis to Najair Smith, and Sean Freeburg kicked the extra point for a 7-6 lead with 9:14 left in the half.
In the third quarter, still leading 7-6, the Cavs fumbled deep in their own territory, but the defense held Smyrna on four straight plays. The Cavs took over at their own 6-yard line with 2:18 left in the quarter.
Another fumble by Middletown gave Smyrna the ball at the Cavs' 14, but Middletown's De'Quez Walker intercepted a pass in the end zone. He returned the ball all the way to Smyrna's 25-yard line to save the Cavs and set up another scoring opportunity with 51.3 seconds left in the third quarter.
After the interception, Middletown drove near the goal line and then Ben Martin punched it in with 9:47 left in the fourth quarter. Freeburg's extra-point kick was good for a 14-6 lead.
The Cavs' defense held Smyrna in check the rest of the way, and Freeburg kicked a field goal for the final 17-6 score.
UNDEFEATED 1969 TEAM HONORED
Before Friday night's Harvest Bowl, Middletown High School honored members of the undefeated 1969 Cavaliers team on the 50th anniversary of that impressive season with a ceremony on the field.
The 1969 Cavs finished 9-0 and outscored opponents 366-21, with six shutouts including a 32-0 victory over Salesianum.
Friday night, the team presented the game ball from that Salesianum victory to Middletown High School.
Although there wasn't a state tournament in 1969, the Cavs were the top-ranked team in the state in The News Journal's power ratings at the end of the season.
Friday, Sept. 13, home vs. Concord, 7:30 p.m.