It took one play to set the tone Friday night in a showdown between No. 3 Cavalier and No. 4 May-Port-C-G.
Cavalier kicked off. May-Port-C-G fumbled. The Tornadoes recovered, used the good field position to punch in a touchdown and jump ahead.
Cavalier forced four turnovers in all, recovering a muffed punt, a fumble and intercepting a pass en route to a 42-20 victory over the Patriots at Jerome Berg Field.
The Tornadoes improved to 7-0 on the season and have clinched a share of the 9B Region 2 championship. They can win it outright and earn the No. 1 seed for the region playoffs with a victory at Finley-Sharon/Hope-Page next week.
May-Port-C-G dropped to 6-1.
"It was exciting," Cavalier coach Mitch Greenwood said. "Our kids were happy to play this game. We haven't had a whole lot of tests. Week 2 was the last time we had a tight game. It was fun to play a full football game, a full four quarters. We played a quality team there. They're going to make some noise in the playoffs, I think."
The game was played in a steady rain, forcing Cavalier to go away from its passing game. Senior Brysen Cleem and junior Jacob Steele shouldered the load on the ground.
"They were leaders for us," Greenwood said. "They ran the ball hard and we were able to get outside. That was our game plan going in, to get outside of the defensive ends and get our yards that way."
Friday night marked Cavalier's second big road win of the season.
The Tornadoes topped Wyndmere-Lindgerwood, then No. 5 in the state, 38-30 on Aug. 27. They added their second road win over a top-five team in Mayville.
"To go on the road and win in those types of environments helps set us up on a playoff run," Greenwood said. "Hopefully, we'll get some home games in the playoffs. But it's nice to have a couple of these tests on the road, traveling and playing football away from the confines of our home-field advantage."
The only way Cavalier won't get the top seed in the region is if it loses by 17 points or more next week, something that hasn't happened to the Tornadoes since the 2019 state championship game.
Cavalier will go into next week's game averaging 55.5 points over the last four contests.
"We played pretty physical," Greenwood said. "That was probably the biggest thing. Defensively we played well. We forced four turnovers. That was our big goal going into the game. We wanted to win the turnover battle."