Cubs clip Trojans in 2OT
STATE CENTER — Friday was beautiful conditions for the start of the 2017 football season for the West Marshall, and apparently the Trojans enjoyed the great weather so much they didn’t want the game to end.
It took more than four quarters of play for West Marshall and Nevada to settle their business on the field, as the clock ran out in regulation with the Trojans and Cubs still tied at seven a piece, meaning both teams would get a chance for some early overtime experience.
After both teams ended their possessions in the first overtime with a fumble on third down, Nevada struck first in the second overtime with a four-yard touchdown scamper from senior Trenton Stahl. After senior Parker Walden made the extra point, the Trojans had just four opportunities to score from the 10-yard line and continue the quest for an opening win.
It only took three plays for West Marshall to reach pay dirt, however, as junior Chase Burr plowed across the goal line for a 1-yard score, giving the Trojans a chance to extend the game or go for the outright win.
They chose the latter, as West Marshall came back onto the field with their offense after a timeout and discussion with the team, but unfortunately for the Trojans faithful their two-point conversion attempt on a handoff to senior Alex Dickey came up short, leading to a 14-13 win for Nevada.
West Marshall (0-1) head coach Cody Hackett said ultimately the decision to go for the win instead of kicking the extra point didn’t come from the coaching staff, it came from the players.
“When we took the timeout we gathered around and discussed the moment and it was our seniors and captains who wanted to go for it,” Hackett said. “They felt really strongly about it and so we listened to them, I was proud of them for wanting to win the game. It didn’t come out on our end but the way they wanted to finish the game strong was good.”
When it came to the specific play they called on that conversion attempt, Hackett said they wanted to give the ball to Dickey because he had run well all night, rather than give it to Burr who had just punched one in.
“They had loaded the box and so we wanted to have that extra blocker in there with Chase, so we gave the ball to Dickey,” Hackett said. “He had been running strong but they were down and ready to go in four-point stances and fired off the ball. It came down to who wanted it more and in the end they got the win.”
Strong was definitely one way to describe how the Trojans played throughout the matchup, especially defensively. They stifled the Cubs attack through much of the first half, leading to many three-and-outs and visibly frustrating both the Nevada (1-0) coaching staff and offensive players.
It wasn’t until the waning moments of the half that the defense showed any bend, as Nevada drove down the field and eventually scored off a 30-yard reception by Stahl in the final minute of the second quarter.
Overall, Hackett said his defense showed well in their first game.
“Defensively we played well tonight, we should be good having nine of our 11 starters from last year back,” he said. “They had a couple of plays on us but overall we played well, the guys up front played strong and our linebackers worked well together and played the ball well and our coverage was solid. We go man a lot on the outside which allows us to have seven guys play the run so we need good coverage from our defensive backs and they all played well tonight.”
Though they were the strongest unit on the field, Hackett said there were still things his defense needs to improve upon before they next hit the gridiron.
“We are undersized up front, and that is just how it is here at West Marshall,” he said. “I think our defensive linemen played well but they need to work on getting off blocks better and using their hands more. When they get someone on them they need to get off the block quicker and not sit there and play patty cake with their man.”
Offensively, the Trojans struggled to get their run game going early on in the game, but they were given magnificent field position off a long punt return from senior Ryan Sabastiano, who took the ball all the way down inside the Nevada ten in the second quarter.
After three straight runs, West Marshall faced fourth and goal from the one yard line, but instead of trying to force it up the middle Hackett called upon his junior quarterback in Cameron Bannister to make a play with his arm. He did just that, finding senior Beau Coberley in the back right corner of the end zone off a scramble and giving the Trojans the early lead.
Bannister was under pressure for most of the night, leading to him scrambling a bit and taking quite a few hits in the backfield, but Hackett said he was pleased with how the junior played in his first game of the season.
“I was happy with Cameron’s game,” Hackett said. “He handled the ball well and he had some moments where he could have gotten frustrated and down on himself there in the second half with how much he was being hit in the backfield but he kept coming back at it and trying hard.”
Next up for West Marshall is a road matchup against Waterloo Columbus.
Nevada 14, West Marshall 13
At State Center
WM 0 7 0 0 0 — 6
NEV 0 0 0 0 0 — 7
WM — Beau Coberley 1 pass from Cameron Bannister (Bannister kick), 4:43.
NEV — Trent Stahl 30 pass from Cam Shill (Parker Walden kick), :19.
NEV — Trent Stahl 4 run (Walden kick).
WM — Burr 1 run (run failed).