By Travis Mounts
The Garden Plain Owls football team will have some work to do going forward in district play after suffering a 10-7 defeat at the Chaparral Roadrunners last Friday.
The Roadrunners won in a few key statistical areas, especially in offensive yardage. The Roadrunners gained 342 yards to just 88 total yards for the Owls. Chaparral’s passing game was on point again, as the Roadrunners went 24-for-34 for 248 yards. They also were 7-for-14 on third down and converted their only fourth down try. The Owls were 2-for-10 on third down.
“I was really pleased with how hard our kids played,” said Garden Plain head coach Todd Rice. “Unfortunately at times, we didn’t execute in critical situations against an experienced team.”
The Owls showed early promise, scoring on their first drive of the game. Gage Lee ran the ball in from 6 yards, and Seth Dugan’s kick gave the Owls a 7-0 advantage.
“That was probably the best we’ve played all year,” Rice said.
It was a 12-play drive with no big plays, and the Owls were able to eat up a good portion of the first quarter.
“We really hoped it would set the tone,” Rice said.
Chaparral made it 7-3 in the second quarter with a 24-yard field goal, and the Owls led by that score at halftime.
The Roadrunners finally put the ball in the end zone on a fourth down, 1-yard run in the third quarter, taking the lead for good at 10-7.
Rice said the Owls’ defense struggled the most on third down, where the Roadrunners converted half of their attempts. Meanwhile, third down was the where Owls’ offense struggled most. Chaparral ran 64 offensive plays to 38 for the Owls.
Lee finished the game as Garden Plain’s top rusher, with 66 yards on 12 attempts. The Owls tried just two passes, with an incompletion and an interception.
Garden Plain led the turnover battle, 3-2. The Owls lost a fumble in addition to an interception. They recovered a Chaparral fumble, and defenders Cooper Scheer and Devin Rau each had an interception.
This week, the Owls will play at the Haven Wildcats. Haven has gone 3-1 so far this season, with two big wins in the previous two weeks. They topped Lyons 50-6 in a non-district game last week.
The Wildcats’ quarterback is a big weapon. He has lots of size, and will be the focal point for Garden Plain’s defense.
“It starts with handling him,” Rice said. The quarterback is a dual threat operating behind an experienced offensive line with size. “They have some size up front, and quickness with their backs.”