Inconsistent effort sinks youthful Horde
In a performance that showed flashes of potential for a team starting only three seniors, nerves, and the mistakes they caused, derailed the first live action for the Granville Golden Horde in a 30-12 Wasaren League loss to the Stillwater Warriors.
Despite holding the senior-laden Warriors scoreless until late in the half, Granville gave up a pair of scores in just under two minutes opening up the floodgates for the Stillwater offense.
The Horde surrendered 228 yards on the ground to a team expected to light it up through the air Friday night.
Nerves prevented Granville from executing to win the football game head coach Mario Torres said.
“Some of these kids have never played on a stage this big before, it’s a big adjustment to make – a couple of freshmen got playing time tonight and you know what? These guys are going to be good players; from week to week these guys are going to get better, those nerves won’t quite be there,” Torres said.
However, the impact on the night was not good.
“We killed ourselves,” Torres said. “We missed assignments, we had confusion up front we didn’t know who to block – we missed a ton of assignments and any time you preach assignment football and your entire philosophy is based on assignment football, you’re not going to be successful.”
Once the team loosened up and relaxed, it was a much different story for both teams, he said. Stillwater did not substitute in the game, particularly in the second half, and Torres said once the players calmed down, they played much better football.
Despite surrendering 30 points, the Horde defense kept the Warriors out of the end zone for most of the third and all of the fourth quarters.
Granville Quarterback Luke Hahn, starting his first full varsity game, gave Stillwater a short field with an interception on Granville’s first drive in the third quarter. Blown coverage on a later punt again placed the Warriors on the Granville side of the 50 yard line. Combined, the mistakes were fatal, for one week.
Torres said he sees bright spots in defeat.
Granville notched both scores in the fourth quarter against the full starting defense for the Warriors.
“We substituted and even when we substituted, when we hit our assignments – I’ll be surprised if we didn’t out gain them in the second half because we played assignment football,” Torres said.
On the defensive side of the ball, Torres said it was the same for Granville missed assignments providing opportunities for Stillwater for portions of the game but did pretty well early and late in the game.
Some of the problems on the night Torres said he would take the hit on as the head coach especially the physical conditioning of the team. “We’re not in game shape right now, these guys need to be in better shape,” he said.
“I’m disappointed, but at the same time I’m pretty pleased with some of our guy’s effort. I thought there were some guys who when the going got tough, they were still going,” Torres said.
Jared Beattie, for his “lights out” effort on the night was named a captain after the game.
Beattie is a player who sets an example by working hard and going that extra mile in practice, at home and in the games, Torres said.
The coach credited his new backfield for putting forth a good effort as Kody Bardin and Paul Hanna ground out 151 yards and a score each, as well as going back for kick offs and punts returns.
“We told the kids nerves are going to hurt us; it’s ok to be a little nervous because it means you care, but too much can take you out of your game. It’ll come, these guys will mature. We had guys mature tonight, right in front of us,” he said.
Leaving the field, Torres said the team already had plans for practice to get ready for hosting Corinth Saturday, Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. at Sam Eppolito Field.
“We’ve got to beat Corinth. We won’t accept anything other than a win next week,” he said.
“(A loss) would be devastating because now you go in to play a Tamarac team that’s loaded with seniors, 0-2,” Torres said. “We’ll regroup, we’ll be on the field tomorrow morning and we’ll get after it.”
Granville had six days to prepare to host the Tomahawks, a team they have taken two straight from following a 2008 second half collapse.
In 2008 Granville amassed a large first half lead under the lights before they were overcome in the second half, falling 34-24.
In 2009 Granville eked out a 14-6 victory double overtime thriller to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Trailing for most of the game Granville scored late to push the game into overtime, twice, before the Horde scored and tacked on a two-point conversion for the win.
Few of the players from either side return from the 2010 week seven match up the Golden Horde won in convincing fashion 48-20 under the lights on a chilly October night.
Corinth comes off a punishing loss last week.
Corinth ran into the Class C North buzzsaw that is Hoosick Falls in their first outing of the season receiving a 54-13 pounding for their trouble; the Panthers scored every point in the first half.
Stillwater get to take a 1-0 record in for crack at the defending division champion by visiting the Panthers at home Friday, Sept. 9. Granville faces Hoosick Falls in the last game of the regular season, on the road.