34-33 Copley win in double overtime, I received a reply that summed it up perfectly.
Let's discuss it. I'll always be here, after big wins and tough losses.
(Photo courtesy of Ohio.com. Gallery of 8 pictures can be viewed here. Local photographer Rod Dilyard's pictures can be viewed and purchased here.)
Minus the turnovers, I thought we played well enough to win. And for the second week in a row, senior Tre Simpson had over 100 yards rushing. My numbers had him tallying 178 yards on 32 carries. Both yards and carries have to be near career highs for him. He had well over 200 all-purpose yards if you count the 38 yard kickoff return he had as well. His two rushing touchdowns give him 8 on the season (6 rushing, 2 receiving) to go along with 366 rushing yards. He's on target to have consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons.
I thought both he and junior Mason Monheim ran the ball with passion in the second half. Not sure if it was just a coincidence, or if they were challenged to run harder at halftime, but both gained yards on second and third efforts the entire second half.
For just week 3, this game sure had the feel of a playoff game. Both teams made big plays in pressure situations. The game was tied three different times and the lead changed 6 more times. The 67 total points scored between the two teams were the most combined points since last season's playoff game with Genoa. The only thing different this time was the outcome.
Turnovers killed us. Five turnovers, three fumbles and two interceptions (one was tipped, the other was on a hail mary). Two of our fumbles were on QB exchanges (both times in the shotgun I think). That seems to be an issue in the early going...and is probably a timing issue, but it simply can't keep happening.
We've had 12 (T-W-E-L-V-E) turnovers so far through 3 games. We had four against NW (2 fumbles, 2 INT's), three against Triway (1 fumble, 2 INT) and five more this past week. That's too many...and it probably cost us the game this past week.
Red Zone Offense
I thought to myself during the game "we're sure having a tough time moving the ball inside the 20." After looking at my game notes, I wasn't imagining things. Not counting overtime, we had 5 possessions that got inside the Copley 20...and ran a total of 16 plays, not counting field goals or extra points. Those 16 plays accounted for 39 yards, or an average of 2.43 yards per play.
Of those 16 plays, 13 were runs, 2 were passes and 1 play resulted in a fumbled snap. Seems like we were a little predictable.
Never like to put an entire game on the call of 1 referee...but on 4th and goal from the 3 yard line, and Orrville leading 27-20, it sure looked like Copley's Sam Wheeler was down at the 1 and bounced his way into the endzone. I'm sure film all but confirms it.
To me, it's not about the call that was made, but the way it was made. The official that had the best look at it deferred to the line judge on the OPPOSITE side of the field, who was at least sure of his call, right or wrong.
Whatever the call, make it with confidence, or confer with your fellow officials and get it right.
Nevermind the pass interference, the non-call was bigger, in my opinion.
But whatever...it shouldn't have come down to 1 play, or 1 call....the Riders had plenty of chances.
Copley PA announcer
Have to give this guy credit...whoever he is. One of the best and most informative PA announcers I've heard. He was a homer, but not insufferable.
Field Position Battle
Orrville had four possessions start inside Copley territory, and scored points on three of those drives, but the one where they didn't walk away with any points was the toughest to swallow. Following a Max Pirman blocked punt, the Riders were unable to punch it in from the 18-yd line and settled for a 32 yard field goal attempt that missed.
I'd like to think that if the Riders were able to cash in on that drive, that the defense would have continued to play inspired and confident and seal the win.
Speaking of the kicking game
Can't say enough at how impressed I am with Dylan Tanner's kicking ability. The only nit-picky thing is that it seems to take too long from snap to kick. Every attempt seems to take place under heavy pressure. I'd like to think that the process can be sped up to take some pressure off Dylan and just let him focus on kicking. That's a timing thing that can hopefully be corrected.
None this week...no skulls after a loss. Just like the real thing.
I knew a win would have paid big dividends...and it would have. We're currently 7th in the region, but would have been #1 with a bullet if we could have pulled out the victory. A win, coupled with Copley's 2nd level points, would have given us 7.55 points on the season. Far more than current #1 Elyria Catholic's 6.71 points. Triway and Northwest winning were big....but Northwest has 3-0 Marlington this week and Triway gets Tuslaw...so nothing guaranteed for either team.
Big game vs. Lexington
The Riders get no break this week as they open OCC play at undefeated Lexington. The Minutemen are no doubt riding high after their surprising 10-7 win over Division 1 power North Canton Hoover. It was bitter-sweet though as they did lose their starting QB Collin Michael to a knee injury early in the game.
Another big batch of computer points to the winner.
That's all...hopefully one of those losses we learn and improve from. Comment section is open for your thoughts an opinions as always.