By GREG MENGELT
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
BY GREG MENGELT
JEFFERSONVILLE — Jeffersonville coach Lonnie Oldham missed his team’s Week 1 29-25 loss to Louisville Eastern due to a suspension for allowing ineligible players to compete in the Red Devils’ Aug. 10 scrimmage with Clarksville.
Oldham said Tuesday that he believes his presence on the sideline may have been the difference in the outcome. The Eagles scored 15 unanswered fourth-quarter points to steal the victory.
“As head coach, I feel personally responsible,” Oldham said. “If I was on the field, we probably would have had a chance to win the game. That’s just the way I feel. I have a lot of confidence in my abilities as a coach and think [the players] have a lot of confidence in me.
“If I was there, I don’t know that we would have won. But I do feel responsible that I wasn’t there.”
Oldham said that from watching the film and from the reports he received from the game, the Devils’ inability to stop the run in the second half disturbed him.
“They kind of ran over us a little bit,” Oldham said. “I thought we would be better up front. All in all, most reports I got is we played hard, which is good, and played together. I have to be pleased with that.”
DRAGONS GIVE ONE AWAY
Yes, Silver Creek’s defense is still the problem in Sellersburg. But the Dragon offense gave away a couple of opportunities to at least challenge Springs Valley for its first win in nearly 60 years.
On the first drive, the Dragons drove down to the Blackhawk 4-yard line before a penalty and a failed fourth-down attempt derailed that drive in Friday’s 46-29 loss.
In the second quarter, Silver Creek’s Layne Taylor ran for a 60-yard touchdown. But that score was called back by another penalty.
“Penalties hurt us a lot,” Creek coach Mike Donahue said. “I thought the one [on the first drive] took us completely out of sync.”
Donahue said he considered sending out senior Trevor Spence for a field-goal attempt. After seeing Spence’s point-after kicks, he wished he had.
“He had never kicked and [kicking a field goal] is a pretty tough thing to do,” Donahue said. “[Spence] can kick it a mile. That’s not going to be an issue anymore.”
With Eastern, Crawford County and Salem — this week’s opponent — struggling out of the gates, Donahue can envision some wins for the Dragons this season, but his defense must improve.
“I see three or four truly possible wins,” he said. “The thing we’re going to be really working on this week is defense.”
BULLDOGS GET CONFIDENCE-BUILDING VICTORY
It’s amazing the difference one calendar year can make.
Just ask New Albany coach Charlie Fields.
A year ago, his Bulldogs were coming off of an excruciating 21-19 loss to rival Providence. It would be five more weeks before New Albany would win its one and only game.
Jump forward a year to the Bulldogs celebrating a season-opening 28-15 win over the Pioneers.
“The pressure was mounting on the kids as the year went along last year,” Fields recalled. “The effort was there. We were just young and experienced as a [coaching] staff and as a team. [The win over Providence] should do wonders for their confidence.”
In the victory, Tuwan Payton had 228 yards on 14 carries and a pair of scores. As good as Payton was, Fields said much of the credit belongs to the blockers in front of him.
“Tuwan, what he did was outstanding, but our receivers did an outstanding job of blocking for him,” Fields said. “Our offensive line, which we felt last year struggled, did an exceptional job.”
HAWKINS DISSATISFIED AFTER PIRATES’ 53-POINT WIN
Sometimes coaches are hard to please. Especially when expectations are as high as they are for Charlestown.
Even after Charlestown whipped Madison 67-14, all coach Jason Hawkins could find were flaws.
“Our special teams need work, we have to get better blocking. Our offensive line has to play better,” Hawkins said, noting that Leighton Brewer was the exception. “But our defense played well. At least, there’s that.”
Hawkins said his offense was unable to find rhythm while scoring 28 first-quarter points on seven plays. Aaron Daniel completed four passes — three for touchdowns — and ran for another two in the first half.
“It was a hard game to coach,” Hawkins said. “We couldn’t really tell anything. The game was just over so fast. We couldn’t get into a rhythm.”
Hawkins said even the coaching staff struggled. Tyler Odle touched the ball twice and went for 66 yards and never saw the ball again.
“Going back and looking at it, we didn’t give Odle the ball enough,” Hawkins said. “He didn’t get enough touches.”
FACING MALE A NET PLUS FOR FC
Coaches never want to lose football games, particularly in their season openers.
However, Floyd Central coach Brian Glesing said he’d rather go through what the Highlanders suffered in Friday’s 48-7 loss to Louisville Male than to play a team that wouldn’t challenge them in the opener.
“I’d much rather play a quality team like that,” Glesing said. “That’s going to help us out. We’re going to have to play great teams like Columbus East and Bedford [North Lawrence] and Jeff and New Albany and Providence this week, and in Indiana, all you have to do is be the best you can be in October.”
Glesing said his offense played well at times against a strong Bulldog defense. But penalties kept the Highlanders out of the end zone.
“Offensively, we didn’t do bad,” he said. “We moved the ball but had too many mistakes. We got behind early and it was not good from there.”
Defensively, Floyd struggled, as it has often in the past couple of seasons.
“We were out-manned on Friday night,” Glesing admitted. “We couldn’t stop them. They were fast and quick and we didn’t good a very good job of guarding them and covering them and tackling them. We have to find a way to [slow down opponents].”
GENERALS STILL EXCITED ABOUT 2012
A 34-point loss to Class 2A No. 13 Southridge in the season opener didn’t make Clarksville coach Steve Cooley feel any differently about the prospects for the 2012 season.
“We’re excited,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that. We’ve got some great opportunities for wins coming up.”
Clarksville was even at 14 with the Raiders midway through the second quarter before injuries beset the Generals. Marquise Parrish, who had scored both Clarksville touchdowns on kickoff returns, went out with a slight concussion. Josh Grady later went out with an unspecified injury.
Parrish will be back Friday at Eastern.
“It was one of those things that a few years ago, he would have gone back in,” Cooley said of the severity of the concussion. “But you don’t take a chance with that. You would rather lose a football game than take a chance with concussions.”
Grady, on the other hand, is out for the season after winding up in the hospital with internal injuries. It’s an end to what has been an injury-filled stint with the Generals.
“It’s a sad deal,” Cooley said. “He was playing well. It’s just unfortunate.”
There were no Mid-Southern Conference games in Week 1. But as expected, Brownstown Central, Charlestown and Corydon Central distinguished themselves from the rest of the pack.
Brownstown drubbed Mitchell 39-6 and Corydon out-scored Perry Central 45-36. North Harrison also beat Crawford County 50-6, but at this point, it’s hard to say if that means anything significant.
Silver Creek is still winless in 12 varsity games since reviving football and Clarksville, Eastern and Salem were all victims of losses of 30-plus points.
HOOSIER HILLS UPDATE
Only Columbus East and New Albany picked up Week 1 wins in the Hoosier Hills Conference, making the Olympians the clear favorites to once again win the conference.
The eight-time defending champions beat Bloomington North 31-28 on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium after a late 80-yard touchdown drive.
Seymour lost in overtime to a Franklin team that beat the Owls by 29 points a year ago, and of course, Jeff lost a heartbreaker to a traditionally-strong Louisville Eastern program.
Bedford’s 14-point loss to Bloomington South, which went 1-9 a year ago, was the biggest letdown for the league.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
• Tuwan Payton, New Albany: The Bulldog junior had touchdown runs of 74 and 70 yards in the second quarter of New Albany’s 28-15 win over rival Providence.
Payton finished with 228 yards on 14 carries the his season debut.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
• New Albany: After the win over Providence, Fields declared the win a “new era of New Albany football.” While that remains to be seen, the Bulldogs were impressive on Friday with an offense that compiled 362 yards and a defense that held the Pioneers to just two touchdowns.
PLAYS OF THE WEEK
• Harrison dogs Devils: Louisville Eastern’s Tre Harrison came in late and scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a stunning 29-25 win over Jeffersonville. The loss extended Jeff’s season-opening losing streak to 20 games and kept the Devils without a win over a Louisville school since 1956.