Royals’ fast start foiled by Moravia, 30-22

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Colo-NESCO running back Philip Bower races down the sideline on his way to scoring a 65-yard touchdown on Friday while Moravia junior Cole Ballenger gives chase during the Mohawks’ 30-22 win over the Royals.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Colo-NESCO running back Philip Bower races down the sideline on his way to scoring a 65-yard touchdown on Friday while Moravia junior Cole Ballenger gives chase during the Mohawks’ 30-22 win over the Royals.

COLO — At one point in the first half of Friday’s 8-Man District 5 football game between Colo-NESCO and Moravia, the Royals owned a 22-6 lead over the Mohawks, but that wasn’t enough to secure the lead as Moravia scored the final 24 points in the game to take a 30-22 victory.

Colo-NESCO head coach Josh Nessa said the reason his Royals found themselves on the losing end for a second-straight week was the way the Mohawks made changes as the game went along.

“They made some great adjustments and we didn’t,” Nessa said after the loss. “They were bringing more than we could block it seemed like, lots of blitzing. They were doing a great job of blitzing on the backside and taking away our counter and we had some guys hurt so we had to rotate some guys. The loss is on me and I just wish I could have gotten us a score in the second half.”

Things couldn’t have started much better for the Royals (5-3, 4-2), as senior Garrett Packer took a 65-yard touchdown to the house on the opening play in the first quarter. Senior Philip Bower also had a 65-yard dash to the end zone in the first quarter, as the Royals offense would not be denied.

Packer and Bower each had over 100-yards rushing in the first half, with 133 and 101 respectively, but neither could shake loose in the second thanks to some stout defensive play by the Mohawks (8-1, 5-1). Packer only gained five yards in the second half, while Bower was held to just 21.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Colo-NESCO passer Sean Cutler, right, is sacked by Moravia’s Griffin Cosgrove (5) during the fourth quarter of the Royals’ 30-22 loss to the Mohawks in Colo on Friday night.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Colo-NESCO passer Sean Cutler, right, is sacked by Moravia’s Griffin Cosgrove (5) during the fourth quarter of the Royals’ 30-22 loss to the Mohawks in Colo on Friday night.

Colo-NESCO had a few crucial moments in the second half to gain a first down on fourth and short, but time and again Moravia came up with stops, and Nessa said the team’s failure to convert on the short fields is something that will haunt him for some time.

“I’m going to second guess myself all night and probably all weekend, but we couldn’t run very much inside,” he said. “We tried, especially on those short situations, and penalties and turnovers, you can’t have those against a team like this. I have to tip my hat to them, they did a very good job.”

While they had a rough go on offense in the second half, defensively the Royals did all they could to keep in the game. They held the Mohawks to just 81 yards in the second half, most of which came on a 46-yard touchdown pass to Griffin Cosgrove on the opening possession.

In fact, most of Moravia’s scoring came on big plays in the passing game, rather than their usual running approach, and Nessa said his team was ready for the pass over the top but a soggy field was partially to blame for the receivers getting loose.

“We prepared for it, I think the field conditions kind of hurt because we would come up on them to stop the run and they’d slip a guy out deep,” he said. “I think we adjusted pretty well in the second half to that but overall it was the big plays that hurt us.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Packer was the lead tackler for Colo-NESCO with two solo bring downs and 11 assists, as well as a fumble recovery and a couple of tackles for loss. Bryce Niemeyer finished with 11 assists on tackles as well.

Mohawks quarterback Hunter Arbogast finished the day 5-for-5 through the air for 213 yards and three touchdowns, while Tucker Babbitt led the Mohawks on the ground with 61 yards on 11 carries.

With the loss, Colo-NESCO’S playoff hopes have suddenly become much more distant than they were before kickoff on Friday night. The Royals still have a chance to make the postseason, but they will need a win over winless Seymore/Moulton-Udell and quite a bit of help form other scoreboards.

Nessa said, though his guys have a smaller chance to reach the postseason now, he wants the team to come out and finish the season strong for themselves.

“It’s all about pride here, it’s a very slim chance that we make the playoffs now but it’s all about pride and doing things right, doing them the Royal way,” Nessa said. “We are just going to try and keep it positive and get another win for the seniors.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Moravia 30, Colo-NESCO 22

At Colo

Moravia 6 18 6 0 — 30

Colo-NESCO 14 8 0 0 — 22

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

CN — Garrett Packer 65 run (Packer run), 11:50.

MOR — Tucker Babbitt 22 run (run failed), 10:59.

CN — Philip Bower 65 run (run failed), 9:59.

Second Quarter

CN — Packer 33 run (Packer run), 11:51.

MOR — Babbitt 59 pass from Hunter Abrogast (run failed), 10:06.

MOR — Babbit 74 pass from Abrogast (run failed), 6:48.

MOR — Abrogast 1 run (pass failed), 1:52.

Third Quarter

MOR — Griffin Cosgrove 46 pass from Abrogast (run failed), 10:30.

Fourth Quarter

No scoring.

Individual statistics

RUNNING — MOR: Babbit 11-61, Abrogast 15-44, RJ Hamilton 7-21; CN: Packer 17-138, P. Bower 25-122, Francis Bower 3-31, Mason Lytle 2-25, Sean Cutler 2-(minus-5).

PASSING — MOR: Abrogast 5-5-213-0; CN: P. Bower 2-5-35-0, Cutler 1-2-9-0.

RECEIVING — MOR: Babbit 3-151, Cosgrove 1-46, Nick Martin 1-16; CN: Packer 1-20, Cutler 1-15, Kelly Gray 1-9.