Warriors unable to finish drives in 62-12 loss to Midland

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Central players team up to tackle a Midland runner. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Noah Diersen runs from Midland defenders in Central’s Oct. 1 loss.

By Willis Patenaude, Times- Register


The Central football team took on Midland Oct. 1, and prior to the game, coach Joe Koehn said the team had worked on its pass coverage and “making sure the defensive line makes their reads and plugs up holes to make running the ball difficult,” in an effort to slow down the highly efficient Eagle offense. 


“They have some athletes, but I am positive we can contain them. We, as a team, just need to be more assertive and aggressive when we are coming off the ball, whether it’s blocking, running the ball, making our steps when flowing to make the tackle. We just need to be more aggressive. Be the hammer, not the nail,” Koehn added.


The strategy worked through the first quarter, as the Warriors held the Eagles to 14 points, while scoring 12 of their own on two Elliot Kelly touchdown passes to Evan Schroeder. But the two-point deficit was as close as the Warriors got, as the Eagles scored 48 unanswered points en route to a 62-12 victory. 


After a promising start to the season, the loss put the team at 2-4 and right in the face of adversity, something Koehn commented on before the game. 


“Things can and will get difficult, but we need to learn to deal with adversity like that better. Unfortunately, the only way to deal with it is to have it thrown right in your face. But now, we have faced it and we know how to act and push through problems that we might face. It is a great skill to have, especially with this big thing called life that will be right around the corner for some of these kids very soon,” Koehn said. 


During the Midland game, the Warriors once again faced adversity, as the offense struggled to finish drives. After being successful earlier in the game, the Warriors were suddenly being stopped on drives, something Koehn said the team “just couldn’t come back from.”


When the drives were being finished, the Warriors put up yards and points, as quarterback Kelly went 9-20, throwing for 71 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. On the other end was the team’s leading receiver, Schroeder, who finished the game with six receptions for 59 yards and two touchdowns, Nate Shirbroun caught two passes for 24 yards. 


The rushing offense put up 126 total yards on 39 carries, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. Schroeder, the team’s leading rusher, had 100 yards, and Kelly added 12.  


“Schroeder’s been doing a good job running the ball and receiving for us,” Koehn said. 


On defense, the Warriors allowed Eagle quarterback Caden Ballou to complete four of five passes for 181 yards and four touchdowns, while also surrendering 290 yards on the ground and giving up four rushing touchdowns. The Eagles averaged 9.4 yards per carry, as the Warrior defense was unable to apply pressure. 


Central totaled just 29 tackles, with Brandon Whittle leading the way with eight, followed by Kelly, Maddux Eglseder, and Shirbroun with four. Sean Wilwert, Noah Diersen, Sam Fettkether and Ryan Schroeder each picked up two. Whittle also had the team’s only sack and led the Warriors with two tackles for a loss. Kelly, Eglseder and Spencer Heer all had one tackle for a loss. 


With the Warriors struggling and riding a three-game losing streak, Koehn discussed where the team goes from here. 


“Don’t worry about records and just play to have fun and learn life lessons and have success in as many facets of the game as possible,” he said. “Stay healthy and have fun, forget about everything out of our control and worry about what we can control. Just pay attention to the most important things, and that’s having fun and playing this wonderful game of football.” 


The Warriors will now travel to Springville (2-4) on Friday, Oct. 8.

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