Turnovers and Missed Chances Contribute to Eagles Loss to Bulldogs
The Eagles trip north of the river to Kearney was unproductive. Turnovers on offense, missed chances, and a defense that fought hard but played too many downs led to the Eagles 31-7 loss to the Bulldogs.
“It was 14-0 at halftime. We had our chances. There was the fumble and the interception along with a couple of big dropped passes, including the one along our sideline. The story of the night was we had our defense on the field too long. Our offense couldn’t sustain a drive,” Head coach David Allie said.
Grain Valley’s defense showed heart. The Eagles were the smaller team at the line of scrimmage compared to Kearney up front. They fought hard all night and especially during the first half forcing a turnover on downs and three punts by the Bulldogs.
“They have a very physical line and a running back that’s tough to tackle. They were able to sustain their drives and wear us down,” Allie said.
Big plays contributed by the Eagles defense included sacks by defensive lineman Chance Pittman, linebacker Trent LeGrotte, and blitzing linebacker Seth Dankenbring’s consistent quarterback pressure. Defensive back Jace Collum also broke up an attempted fade pass in the end zone by taking away the receivers inside path and forcing him to the back quadrant of the end zone for an incomplete pass.
The offense’s lone score came with 6:45 in the third quarter. Running back Ethan Grasher scored off tackle on a five-yard run for the touchdown. This was made possible on the previous down when quarterback Cole Keller connected with Trent Flake on a sixty-four-yard screen pass.
It was apparent that Kearney had committed to shutting down the Eagles rushing attack to make them throw the football. The ensuing extra point by Parker Bosserman was good, and the Eagles were in ballgame trailing 14-7.
“We noticed as the game progressed through watching film on the sideline that we missed one block here or that we needed to read the hole this way for us to make the offense work. They controlled the line of scrimmage and we weren’t able to handle their blitz this week. It was more of a physical blitz compared to a fast blitz and that made it difficult to get vertical on them,” Allie said.
The Eagles fought through injuries as well on the night.
“You have to be ready to play no matter what. We have a depth chart for a reason, and that’s the hardest thing to do is to be ready to play as the next man up. It shows our focus when you must go perform at a moment’s notice. I appreciate the contributions of Joey Beach and Jack Butler as they filled in for other people tonight. We can never question the heart or effort these kids give, and that makes them a fun group to be around,” Allie said.
Grain Valley will host Ruskin on Friday, October 12. This will move the Eagles closer to district and possibly playoff football.
“We have two games left, and we have to take them one at a time. I think come playoff time we are going to be battle tested, as the teams we have lost to this season are pretty solid. You are never happy with a loss, and you must learn from them,” Allie said.