’Cats fall flat in season opener
Published: Thursday, August 30th, 2012
Coming into last Friday night’s season-opening game against theâ��Newcastle, Wyo., Dogies, Custer head football coach Russ Bailey had some questions about some key parts of his football team.
At the end of the night, when the scoreboard read 30-14 in favor of the visiting Dogies, he didn’t like all of the answers he received to those questions.
“We’ve got to have players step up and be playmakers,” Bailey said. “We’re looking for players who are willing to step up, take charge and make the plays that need to be made, not look for someone else to do it.”
Most glaring in the Wildcats’ loss was the lack of any semblance of a running game, as Wildcat running backs were frequently met in the backfield by Dogie defenders the instant they were handed the ball. For the game, Custer was held to negative four yards rushing.
“When you rush for negative four yards in a game, it’s obvious your offensive line didn’t do a good job,”â��Bailey said.â��“Some of that is on me. I’m the offensive line coach. But they have to figure out how they are going to get the job done. Ninety percent of it is intensity.”
Bailey said the poor running attack was a combination of several things breaking down, including plays that developed too slowly, running backs hitting the holes too slowly, and what Bailey called a “ridiculous”â��amount of assignment mistakes by offensive linemen. He added that when running plays can’t be established, the offense can’t set up other plays off those runs, leading to the snowball effect the team suffered through Friday night.
“If you can’t run anything, (the defense) doesn’t have to adjust,”â��he said.â��“One year I would like to have an offensive line that is bigger and stronger than the team we are blocking, but it’s not happening this year. It’s going to be attention to detail. You have to try to fix it with what you have.”
Newcastle struck first in the opening quarter, on a 30-yard touchdown run by JTâ��Harper. Custer continued to struggle to move the ball and Newcastle struck again when Harper connected with Taylor Tavegia for a 15-yard touchdown pass that put the Dogies up 14-0 with 6:42 left in the half.
After a 24-yard field goal for Newcastle in the third, Newcastle scored again two possessions later when Harper found Ty Borgialli for an 11-yard touchdown pass, making the score 24-0.
The Wildcats finally got on the board in the third quarter when quarterback Chase Glazier found Jared Thomsen down the far sideline from 27-yards out. The two point attempt failed.
Newcastle scored its final touchdown on a two-yard plunge by Merritt Crabtree in the fourth quarter, which was followed by a 68-yard touchdown pass from Glazier to Erik Hiltunen with seconds remaining in the game. Glazier connected with Dylan Severyn for the two-point conversion.
“We were deer in the headlights the whole game. We got down and never settled down,”â��Bailey said.â��“We took the first punch and never got back in the fight. We never gathered our composure.”
Glazier finished the game with 202 passing yards, 100 of which were hauled in by Hiltunen on three receptions. Kenneth Myers led the team in rushing with 22 yards on 12 carries. The team didn’t do itself any favors in the turnover department, losing five fumbles.
Despite the lopsided loss, Bailey said the sky isn’t falling on the team, and said the Wildcats are considerably better than they showed against Newcastle.
“We’re not going to lose every game this year. We’re not in a world of hurt,”â��he said.â��“We have to clean things up on our side.”
The Wildcats will try to rebound this week when they host the Bennett County Warriors for Custer’s homecoming game. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.
Bailey said Bennett County, like Custer, is a young team still trying to figure out who it is. The Warriors opened the season with a 16-13 loss to Hill City.
“They have some big kids up front and a little bit of speed in the backfield,”â��he said.â��“They are trying to find out what they can do and what they are good at.”
Custer 0 0 6 8 —14
Newc 7 7 10 6 —30
First Downs 5 8
Rushes-yards 25-(-4) 35-123
Passing yards 202 114
Passing 10-17-1 9-16-0
Fumbles-lost 6-5 1-1
Penalties 8-40 5-50
Return yards 49 NA
Rushing:â��Custer—Kenneth Myers 12-22.
Passing:â��Custer—Chase Glazier 10-17-1, 202 yards.
Receiving: Erikâ��Hiltunen 3-100
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