Clarksburg Head Coach Bob Plante understands the importance of winning, but like all good coaches, he embraces the lessons learned from losing. “This was something to build on,” said Plante. “I am proud of the kids. We have a long, long way to go but there is light in the tunnel, and we are getting better and learning.”
His Coyotes came out strong in their home opener on Friday night but ultimately lost 20-13 to the Urbana Hawks. Plante and the Coyotes had a game plan and hoped to follow through on it. Plante and his team made some alignment adjustments in practice this week as they prepared for Urbana. The coaching staff wanted a more balanced offensive approach.
“The game plan was to load the box with our run sets,” said Plante. “We ran the ball more this week. We tried to have a more balanced attack.”
And the plan seemed to be working early on, while the Coyotes were putting up points, junior quarterback Joey Perkins was pounding the Hawks, and the Clarksburg defense was coming up with stops or turnovers. Senior Justice Williams had his second interception in as many weeks. The tough defense led to Urbana settling for a field goal late in the first. But Urbana had scored first, 3-0 after one-quarter of play.
In the second quarter, Perkins would find senior running back Elijah Maith on a pass to keep the Clarksburg drive alive and set up the Coyotes first touchdown. Perkins would run the ball into the endzone to give Clarksburg a 7-3 lead with 6:04 remaining in the first half.
Clarksburg junior Ben Spiess would come up with a big tackle to get the ball back in Perkins' hands. The senior QB would find the endzone again. Again set up by a pass, this time to sophomore Casey McKinney, who moved the ball down to the one-yard line. Perkins would pound it into the endzone to give the ‘Yotes a 13-3 lead at halftime. The point after attempt hit the upright.
Urbana came out in the second half and put together a 62-yard drive culminating with a rushing touchdown to cut the lead to 13-10.
Late in the third quarter, the Coyotes got a huge break. Ben Spiess intercepted a pass and set Clarksburg up on the Urbana 22 yard line. Clarksburg thought they were in business. However, Perkins would be forced to leave the game with cramping problems. He would be replaced by freshman quarterback Jordan Morse.
“Losing Joey on that series, when we had them back on their heels,” said Plante. “I think that affected us. Joey had them on their heels, but he cramped up, and we had to put our freshman quarterback in the game. That is a tough spot for anyone, let alone a 14-year old kid. We were unable to score. It affected us and changed the momentum of the game. But those things happen, you have to overcome them. We kept fighting, but it is learned thing, and we are learning.”
Urbana would drive and score again to extend their lead to 17-13 with 10:45 left in the game. The Coyotes would have a few more chances in the fourth quarter but were unable to find the endzone. The Hawks would get a late field goal to make the final 20-13.
“We lost a tough one this week,” said Plante. “I am probably a little more pleased this week than I was last week. We fought hard until the end. That is what we mean when we talk about being a gritty football team. This is the kind of effort that we are looking for from our guys. We are a couple plays short of winning that game. I was proud of the effort. Our kids care. When you play hard and lose that pain is there, but there is also peace of mind knowing that you have given it all you’ve got.”
The Coyotes will have to get much better much sooner, as they will travel host the Quince Orchard Cougars. QO is 2-0 coming off of a 34-7 road win at Blair on Friday, and a 55-7 trouncing of B-CC in Week One.
Top: Urbana's Nathan Dimatteo (26) attempts to stop Clarksburg's Casey McKinney (19) after a pass completion.
Next: The Coyotes' Elijah Maith (2) takes the ball to inside the 24-yard line during the second quarter.
Next: Clarksburg's Giovanni Greene (69) and Tyler Wilder (41) bring down Urbana's Jar'en Kenyatta (24).
Next: Clarksburg’s Miles Prather (4) tries to wrap-up Urbana’s Jar'en Kenyatta (24) as he runs for a first down in the second quarter.
Next: The Hawks' Brendan Schmitz (3) is pursued by Clarksburg’s Miles Prather (4) during the fourth quarter of Friday’s game.
Photos by Kim Grimes for Germantown Pulse.