Warriors clawed by Cougars in home opener, 39-0
The Warriors suffered a severe loss, 39-0, at the hands of the East Hardy Cougars Friday night in the team's first home game. The loss marks the Warriors' fourth straight, leaving them with a 0-4 season record.
Warrior quarterback Wes Felton was one-for-two in passing with a 34 yard completion. Devin Rose rushed for 135 yards against East Hardy, Kyler Doss produced 31 rushing yards, and Spencer McCoy contributed 33 rushing yards. Warrior receiver Andrew Morrison chipped in 34 yards with his catch.
Warrior head coach Chris Sutton said the Warrior coverage couldn't match the Cougars' speed.
“It was a tough loss. Football is about match-ups. Just a bad match-up this year. The players that they have and the offense that they run is especially hard for us to run against defensively. They had more kids, many who were more athletic and a lot faster,” said Sutton.
“Our game plan going in was three safeties — keep everything underneath of us. They can catch it, but as soon as they catch it, we make a tackle. The game plan was going pretty good going into the first half,” Sutton said.
Doss suffered an injury in the second quarter, and the defense suffered as a result.
“We were lacking speed this year overall, as a team,” said Sutton. “When Kyler went out, we had to abandon our three safeties idea and go with two. They had speed and were able to run deep. Up until the point Kyler went out, we followed the game plan and did a great job. After Kyler went out, we didn't have the men to match up. Whenever you're faced with that, against a team like that, you're in for some trouble.”
Sutton said the Warrior running game just didn't come together last week.
“In the first half, either the blocking was bad or the backs weren't waiting long enough for the blocks to get set up,” he said. “When the blocking was bad, we had good execution by the running back. When we had good blocking it was just poor execution — we weren't following blockers into holes like we were supposed to.”
Sutton said in the second half, the Warriors started to pick up a little offensively and started to move the football.
“We made mistakes, and we were never able to punch it into the end zone,” he said. “Overall, we weren't pleased. Open field tackling is extremely important — we did pretty poorly in that category, not breaking down and making tackles. We didn't have as many quick guys, there's not much you can do about that. Our guys still played really hard.”
Sutton said after Doss went out, the offense the Warriors ran in the second half was never run in practice.
“That was sort of on-the-fly, but it's an offense that they ran since they were in junior high. We felt it was our only option at that point and we could run the plays,” said Sutton. “Given the fact that we hadn't practiced it, I felt like it could work.”
Sutton said the Warriors lost to the Cougars last year.
“It was a pretty tough loss,” he said. “They had to go for several fourth-downs to get a win over us last year, but we had a little more speed then.”
According to Sutton, the rest of the season's schedule should provide some wins for the Warriors.
“Definitely. We knew we were gonna have trouble with East Hardy and Tucker County,” said Sutton. “I know Tucker is like #2 in the state and East Hardy is like maybe #5, so those were definitely two rough games to have early in the season. The other two games, there's no excuse. We felt like we should've won Parkersburg Catholic and Pendleton. The rest of the games are good match ups, we're optimistic about the next six games.”
Sutton said this week the squad is going back to the basics.
“I can't remember who said it, but someone said 'football is a game of blocking and tackling.' I can't look at the game film and say that we did well in either of those two areas. We didn't do that, and that's gonna be the emphasis this week, gettin' back to the basics,” Sutton said. “Richwood is a better match-up. We're planning on going into Richwood on Friday and getting the win.”
The Warriors are scheduled to play the Richwood Lumberjacks on the road, Friday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m.