Cougars shelled by Blackhawks

Trinity Lutheran’s football team had another frustrating night on the gridiron Friday.

The Cougars lost their fourth contest of the year, dropping a home game 56-6 to Springs Valley.

Trouble started early for the Cougars, as the team fumbled the ball on the second play of the game to give the Blackhawks field position on the Cougars’ 39-yard line.

The Blackhawks scored after just three plays, one being a 38-yard pass from quarterback Braden Whitaker to freshman wide receiver Lajah Pantiere. Senior running back Zach Carnes punched it in from the 1-yard-line to give the Blackhawks a 6-0 lead with 9:57 remaining in the quarter.

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The Cougars were forced to punt the ball away on their next possession and the Blackhawks scored on a pass from Whitaker to junior Cole Cooper. Senior Raheem Bell ran it in for the two-point conversion to bring it 14-0.

The Cougars then fumbled the following possession and junior defensive back Drake Terry scooped the ball up and ran it in for a 25-yard score. Whitaker passed the ball to senior Ryan Tow to complete the two-point conversion and the Blackhawks had a quick 22-0 lead with 6:52 remaining in the first quarter.

The Blackhawks quickly scored again after a Trinity turnover-on-downs on a run from Carnes. Tow caught another pass for the 2-point-conversion, and it was 30-0. The Blackhawks scored two more times to bring the score 49-0 at the half.

The Blackhawks scored on a 2-yard run after charging down the field midway through the third quarter.

On the next possession, Trinity gained a couple of yards on a run by junior Kyle Juback before quarterback Tyler Goecker threw an interception on a pass intended for freshman Jack Marksberry. Cooper picked the ball off and made his way down the field before being forced out of bounds.

It looked as though the Blackhawks were in position to make matters worse for the Cougars, but the Cougars were able to force a fumble. Sophomore Josh Rowe was able to make the recovery and the Cougars regained possession.

That set up the Cougars’ only score of the game.

The Cougars then charged 64 yards down the field to score on a run from Marksberry with 57 seconds remaining.

Head coach Mike Wilson said he thought throughout the week that his team would play a better game than what they were able to muster up on field.

“I felt like we were making strides this week and I thought we had a good game plan heading into it,” he said.

That all changed when the early mistakes buried the Cougars in a deficit.

“That’s a big part on us, mentally — one mistake will compound and lead to another and snowball, and before you know it you’re really down,” Wilson said. “We have to bounce back from stuff like that and be tougher.”

As far as what went wrong mechanically for the Cougars, Wilson said there were a number of things he saw that the Cougars struggled with.

“We didn’t do a good job of tackling or covering their vertical routes,” he said. “There were also a lot of blocks we were missing out there that led to a lot of yards for them.”

After the good week of practice, Wilson said his team seemed to abandon that work but that they will have to hit the practice field again and move on.

“We didn’t do what we did in practice all week,” he said. “It’s just something we’re going to work at more.”

One thing Wilson was encouraged by was the Cougars’ final possession when they marched down the field and scored.

“That’s how we practiced and even against Knightstown we had sustained drives like that,” he said. “I think if our group is mentally into it, we can put together drives like that.”

The Cougars will host Oldenburg Academy this upcoming week.