Macon east goes to 3-0 for first time since 2007

Cephus Cleveland had a big night running the ball for the Knights in their region opener on Friday.

CECIL -- Macon East continued its winning ways with an easy victory over Fort Dale at home 49-13.

The Knights struck first in the middle of the first quarter when Cephus Cleveland scored on a 6-yard run. Jake Gracey’s PAT made it 7-0. Fort Dale fumbled a couple of minutes later in its own territory and Brock Taunton returned it 38 yards to put Macon East up 14-0. Macon East elevated its lead to 21-0 in the final seconds of the first quarter as Tucker Neven’s screen pass to Ethan Honaker resulted in a 69-yard touchdown.

Brock Taunton intercepted a Fort Dale pass to get the ball back for the Knights, which quickly positioned Neven for another scoring screen pass, this one to Cleveland for 69 yards with two minutes to go in the half. The Knights struck again with less than a minute to go as Neven connected with Clay Slagle for another score.

After Fort Dale finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter, the Knights answered when Neven completed a touchdown strike to Jackson Ceman of 25 yards. Cleveland sprinted into the end zone from 38 yards away on the last play of the third quarter to complete Macon’s runaway victory.

“Fort Dale is not a speed team and we are. That is one thing we have,” Macon East head coach Glynn Lott said. “I think we hurt them in their secondary and that made a big difference.”

For the night, Macon East accumulated 406 yards of total offense while holding Fort Dale to 155 yards of total offense. Neven was 9 of 13 for 289 yards. Cephus Cleveland had 7 carries for 79 yards. Jackson Ceman caught 2 passes for 40 yards and had 4 stops on defense. Taunton also had 5 tackles and Stone Yarnell led the team in tackles with eight solo stops and two assists.

Macon East is now 3-0 for the first time since 2007. Lott was asked about the difference in the 2018 team and those of previous years.

“Attitude,” he said. “They have the confidence that they can win as soon as they walk out onto the field. That’s the difference.”

Macon East will travel to Troy next week to play Pike Liberal Arts (4-0). Macon East is seeking its first 4-0 start since 1999 but will face a Pike Lib team that has outscored opponents 130-49 this season.

“Next week is huge for us,” Honaker said. “They have a really good running back and good quarterback, really good receivers. We have a lot to work on to defensively prepare for a team like them. They are probably one of the best teams we will face all year. We are excited about it.”