Somerset Spartans

The inexperience of the Somerset football team showed at times during Friday’s homefield 29-14 loss to Baldwin-Woodville in the Middle Border Conference opener.

The Spartans will be back in action this Friday when they play at Prescott. Prescott, which is coached by Somerset graduate Jordan Hansen, is coming off a 43-23 win over Osceola.

Somerset and B-W ended the first quarter scoreless, but it wasn’t long into the second quarter that the Blackhawks got on the scoreboard on a short touchdown pass.

Somerset responded with an 85-yard drive. It was the ideal drive for Somerset, with three plays of more than 20 yards. Andy Rojas and Kane Donnelly both had runs for more than 20 yards and Donnelly found Jarred Patterson for a pass of 21 yards. That set up the score, which came when Donnelly burst through a big hole in the middle of the B-W defense for a seven-yard touchdown run.

The Hawks answered back quickly. They caught Somerset in a blown pass coverage and completed a 67-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline. Somerset coach Joe Hutter said the score came out of a bubble package. The Hawks went back to the play late in the game and the Spartans covered it properly.

Somerset had a great chance to score in the final seconds of the first half but couldn’t find the end zone. The Spartans punted and Patterson made a perfectly timed hit on the B-W punt receiver to jar the ball free. The Spartans recovered at the B-W 15 with 1:32 left on the clock. Two runs and two passes couldn’t get a first down and the half ended with B-W leading 15-8.

That missed chance was compounded when the Spartans turned the ball over on their first possession of the second half. Donnelly was hit while attempting to pass and a Blackhawk linebacker made a diving catch at the Somerset 36 for the interception. Five plays later, B-W halfback Logan Gordon charged through a wide hole in the middle of the Spartan defense for a 15-yard touchdown.

The Hawks scored again later in the third quarter. Collin Fritts made a diving catch in the corner of the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown that extended the B-W lead 29-8.

The Spartans produced the only score of the fourth quarter on their best success in the passing game of the night. Dylan Leccia caught two passes that covered 32 yards. With 3:32 left in the game, Rojas made a leaping catch in traffic to haul in a 26-yard touchdown pass from Donnelly.

The final statistics show the Spartans outgaining B-W on the ground, 146 to 142. The difference was the passing game where B-W completed 14 of 20 attempts for 183 yards, compared to Somerset’s six completions in 21 attempts for 104 yards.

Hutter said the biggest factor that hurt the Spartans was inconsistency. He said when the offensive line had its footwork correct, it created big holes for the backs and gave good pass blocking. But when it didn’t, it often resulted in B-W having several defenders in the Spartan backfield.

“Our young guys can’t be young forever,” Hutter said, with the season already one-third completed. “We’ve got kids playing with a lot of energy. Now we’ve got to better focus that energy.”

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