Mustangs stopped by Bath's attack
Saturday, August 29, 2009 6:46 AM
Interceptions and fumbles plagued both the Allen East and Bath squads in their season-opener. The Mustangs traveled to the Wildcat den and fought for their lives in a battle that ended with Bath winning 24-13.
Both initial possessions were short-lived, with neither team moving that first ten yards. Four minutes into the first quarter, AE was suffering with a 2 and 23 at the Bath 7 yard line, when the ball was fumbled and the Wildcats recovered at their own 11. The Mustang defense prevented the 'Cats from getting to the goal line but couldn't stop a successful field goal from being kicked. With the early strike, Bath led 3-0.
Aaron Swaney retaliated quickly, when he returned the kickoff over 80 yards to score the first Mustang touchdown. Team mate Blake Truex kicked the extra point to widen the lead to 7-3 with 4:39 to go.
Bath answered just as quick, when Wildcat Matt Hefner caught two tosses in a row, running the last one in to the end zone. A good extra point put Bath back on top, 10-7.
AE turned over their next ball after three plays, when quarterback Grant Dues had a pass picked off. The Bath possession was full of incomplete passes, one of which Truex got his hands on but dropped. The first quarter ran out as AE took possession.
In the second, AE had to punt on a 4th and 9 and Wildcat Davis had the chance to break away down the field if it hadn't been wet from rain. He slipped and took a knee at the AE 48 yard line. Mustang Bryan Hager stopped the Bath offense from moving in the first play, and then was right in line to pick up a fumble in the second play. AE started from their own 39. Dues ran into trouble with incomplete passing and then took a hit from a 'Cat lineman. Levi Hoy punted the ball back to Bath; a 48 yard punt that put the ball at the 2 yard line.
Both Hager and Casey Rex combined to stop the Bath offense from advancing in the next possession, and AE was punted the ball again. Dues was sacked immediately then began a string of passes to Sean Anderson and Hoy. After a Mustang penalty and a 4th and 12, Truex attempted a 35 yard field goal, which was blocked by Bath. The Wildcats took over on the Mustang 20 yard line with 4:39 to go in the half.
Bath's quarterback worked the ball and got his team to their own 48 yard line, when he connected with Hefner,who ran in for another Bath touchdown. A good extra point increased the Wildcat lead to 17-7.
Dues had problems connecting with his receivers but AE decided to go for it on a 4th and 4 since there was only 24 seconds left in the half, but Dues was sacked as he threw the ball to Hoy, and there was a loss on the play. Bath took the ball to the end of the quarter.
Bath's opening drive in the third saw their quarterback taking it upon himself to move down the field. A high snap from the center made the quarterback scramble to recover, and Bath found themselves on a 2nd and 30. Unable to gain a first down, Bath punted to Truex, who fumbled the ball on his return. The Wildcats recovered the ball and began a trip down the field again. Mustangs Rex and Demetrius Williams were key in preventing the Bath offense from advancing. The ball was turned over to AE on a 4th and 13.
Two more possessions were scoreless and the third quarter clock ran down with Bath still in possession. Opening the fourth, the Wildcats were at a standstill at their five yard line when Hager took down the carrier behind the line. A field goal attempt was too low, and AE took over at the 20 yard line. Again, Dues had trouble completing his passes and switched to handing the ball off to Hoy to advance the team, but AE had to turn the ball over again on a 4th and 1.
AE had the chance to capitalize on the next Bath possession when a fumbled ball was recovered by the Mustangs. With 2:36 to go in the game, Dues shuttled the ball to Swaney, who threw a pass to Hoy. Hoy ran all the way to the end zone, a 62 yard carry for the score. The extra point was not good, leaving the score at 17-13.
Bath only had the ball for one minute before punting it away. The Mustangs were desperate to get that last score, starting from the Bath 18 yard line with 1:23 left in the game. Dues connected to Andrew Rettig before passing the pigskin to Swaney, who dragged his Wildcat defender ten yards before going down.
Dues couldn't land his next two passes, and with the pressure on at 20 ticks to go and two Bath linemen headed straight for him, Dues threw the ball away. Unfortunately, it was right into the hands of a Wildcat, who took the ball 69 yards to the end zone. The good extra point and only 8 seconds on the clock sealed the fate of the Mustangs.
Second year head coach Cam Staley still had praise for his team, saying that last year, the squad would have "completely rolled over and this would have been a 42-7 game. We dug our heels in, got a bunch of big stops on defense in the second half."
"Overall, I can tell our guys got better," he continued. "We're obviously really disappointed about this, but we're going to move forward."
The Mustangs host the Columbus Grove Bulldogs next week in the corral, and Coach Staley noted that Grove has improved from last year, and their offensive line comes off the ball well. He concluded by saying that it's well known that week two is the indicator of how a team's season will go. Seeing if a team can improve from week one to week two is essential.
In order to improve on the Mustangs' performance, Coach Staley said the team needs to take care of the ball better, noting the four turnovers against Bath. He also explained that the quarterback needs to make better decisions and the offensive line will have to push harder and "get more movement."