Playing its second straight game on the road against a team with a lackluster record and in muddy, rainy conditions, Class AAA No. 4 Capital had every reason to come out a little sluggish on Friday.
But for the second week in a row, the Cougars (8-1) answered the opening whistle with razor-sharp focus and never let up.
Capital scored touchdowns on its first six possessions, entered halftime with a 34-0 lead and rolled to a 41-0 win over host Riverside (1-8), spoiling the Warriors’ senior night.
Both coaches agreed to shortened, eight-minute quarters in the second half with that eight minutes continuously rolling in the fourth quarter, somewhat limiting the statistical damage for Capital.
Senior quarterback Kerry Martin Jr. led the charge, rushing for three touchdowns and throwing for two more, and the Cougars defense squeezed the life out of any Warriors offense, limiting Riverside to 96 total yards. Martin hit on 10 of 12 passes for 187 yards and rushed six times for another 25 yards.
“Games like this or just about like any game, you want to go up by as much as you can and get the young guys in,” Martin said. “Build the experience up and keep up the tradition of winning at Capital High School.”
A week after gashing George Washington for 410 yards on the ground, Riverside’s Caden Easterling was largely bottled up. Easterling managed 78 yards on Friday, highlighted by a few long runs. But outside of the team’s lead running back, the Warriors mustered just 18 total yards, including minus-42 yards rushing.
It was the third game in a row Capital’s defense gnarled its teeth after largely limiting Huntington and then holding Woodrow Wilson to 12 total yards a week ago.
“All those kids have bought in, they’re doing their job,” Capital coach Jon Carpenter said. “Sometimes I think people worry about making tackles and sacks and that stuff comes, but to play good team defense, that’s impressive.”
Riverside quarterback JaVante’ Elzy was picked off on the Warriors’ first possession and the snowball only picked up momentum from there. After stealing that early turnover, Capital put its foot down, traversing 45 yards in just four plays, capped by a 6-yard touchdown run for Martin.
The Cougars and Martin were just getting started as the signal-caller capped Capital’s next two drives with 1-yard touchdown dives to give the Cougars a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Then Martin got the passing game going, hitting Kalani Hale on an 8-yard scoring pass with 5:52 until the half and then connecting with K.J. Taylor on a 43-yard scoring strike just 3:28 later, capping a dominant opening two quarters. By the break, Capital had amassed a 235-49 advantage in total yards and finished with a 300-96 edge.
The Cougars opened the second half with possession at the Riverside 49 and needed just six plays to score again, with fullback Kalai Clark rumbling in from 23 yards to account for the final score of 41-0.
Martin spread his 10 completions to six receivers, with Taylor having the biggest night, catching four balls for 75 yards.
Capital has made a bigger commitment to a short passing game since coming off a bye with that win over Huntington two weeks ago. That has added a new aspect to the Cougars’ attack, and Capital flashed them all with equal success on Friday, adding 115 rushing yards to the mix as well.
“It’s huge, for us to be able to get the ball in space,” Carpenter said. “When you get here, that’s what you dream of, to make it look like that. Our kids are working and good things are happening to them.”
Deshaun James led the Cougars with 38 yards rushing on five carries.