A slow start snowballed on Mount Gilead Friday night, as Colonel Crawford scored early and often in taking a 49-8 win in the season opener for both teams.
MG started the game with the ball, but went three-and-out and then had their punt blocked to give the Eagles the ball only seven yards away from the end zone. Colonel Crawford then scored on a four-yard run by Colton Rowland in taking a lead barely two minutes into the contest.
Mount Gilead started their next drive on their own 30, but penalties kept them from moving the ball. While they got 15 yards on a pass interference against the Eagles, three penalties of their own moved the ball backwards and contributed to the team having a fourth-and-32 from their own eight. While a fourth down pass to Mason Mollohan netted 23 yards, CC still regained the ball on the Indian 31.
Defensively, the Indians put themselves in position to get stops, but couldn’t get off the field on third down. The Eagles faced two third-and-eight situations on the drive, but converted them both, getting a 15-yard pass from Zye Shipman to Jordan Fenner to move the ball to the MG 14 on the first one. Then, facing third down from the 12, Shipman connected with Tristan Cross for a touchdown.
“We’ve got experience on the offensive and defensive lines,” said Eagle head coach Ryan Teglovic. “Receivers, we’ve got two back with a lot of experience and we have running backs with carries last year. We have a little bit of inexperience there, but we’re playing a lot of older kids who’ve waited their turn.”
Another three-and-out by the Indians led to the Eagles getting the ball on their own 30. However, a 47-yard run by Dylan Knisely moved it deep into MG territory and set the stage for a seven-yard scoring run by Colton Rowland. Indian coach Joe Ulrey felt after the game that his players need to put past seasons behind them and do the little things right.
“These guys haven’t had a winning season since 2004,” he said. “We dwell in the past too much at the moment. That’s what I’m telling them in the huddle, to consistently do the little things. Football is the best team sport. It takes all 11 doing their job. That’s the challenge right now; doing well and consistently.”
The second quarter didn’t go any better for Mount Gilead, as they had two three-and-outs on offense and another drive ended by an Eagle interception. Meanwhile, CC scored on all three of their drives, getting a 67-yard pass from Shipman to Jordan Fenner, a five-yard run by Knisely and a six-yard pass to Shipman.
While Ulrey felt his team was better in some aspects than in 2017, he noted that they need to play more consistently and not have letdowns that turn into big plays.
“I thought our edge presence was better, but we’d do good for three, four, five plays and then have a brain fart,” he said. “Then we’d do good for two and have another brain fart.”
With the score being 42-0 going into the second half, there was a running clock for the final two quarters and both teams played back-ups for a good amount of that time.
Colonel Crawford scored in the third period on a short touchdown dive. In the fourth period, MG got a 23-yard scoring pass from Devon Hill to Colton Cronenwett. Hill then hit Joshua Sullivan for a two-point conversion to provide the final points of the game.
“It’s always good to get young guys in Friday night,” said Teglovic. “They practice just as hard, so it’s nice to get them in. The older kids put the young ones in position where they could get some experience Friday night.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS