Archive for Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fighting to the finish

Wildcats comeback ends with FG in OT

September 24, 2008

Moments after Louisburg kicked the winning field goal in overtime, members of the De Soto defense lay on the field on their backs with hands on facemasks staring up into the glare of stadium lights and a moonlight sky.

The Wildcats were beaten, 24-21, by Louisburg the No. 5 team in the state Friday at De Soto, making it the second time in a week that De Soto lost on a last-second field goal. Inside the quiet locker room after the game, young faces were sad, but no tears fell.

"I told the kids in the locker room, 'Do not hang your heads one bit,'" De Soto head coach Brad Scott said. "You be proud of the effort you gave and we are close to being a great football team."

The Wildcats (0-3) were close, so close time and again during the game. In the extra period Louisburg won the toss and elected to play defense first. The Wildcats set up shop first down at the 10-yard line. But two Logan Clark passes just missed his intended targets, and Mark England nearly broke free on a run but was corralled before he could make that extra push.

Louisburg then moved the ball to the 3-yard line on two runs by tailback Ryan Robertson. Facing fourth-and-three Louisburg opted to kick, and Chris Cook's 20-yard field goal left De Soto pondering its missed opportunities in the game and its 0-3 start.

De Soto got on the board first when, after a Louisburg fumble, Clark hit wide receiver Jamel Townsend in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown. Near the end of the first quarter and again near the end of the second quarter, De Soto had the ball inside the 20 but two interceptions killed those scoring opportunities.

"You make one of those plays we probably win the ball game," Scott said. "Nobody feels worse than our quarterback about throwing it. But it's one of things that we're also learning that if you're going to throw the ball over the middle on the seam, you better burn it in there like he did last week. He tried to put a little touch on it and it got picked.

"That's his third game playing quarterback for us ever, so he's going to make some mistakes at times."

In the third quarter a misplayed ball on a punt gave Louisburg a first down inside the De Soto 10-yard line, and the visiting Wildcats soon capitalized with a touchdown to tie the score at 14. De Soto had trouble containing Louisburg's ground game as quarterback Kody Cook had 133 yards rushing, and one touchdown run and one TD pass. Louisburg tailback Ryan Roberts had 19 carries for 104 yards and one touchdown.

De Soto's Mark England carried 12 times for 75 yards and scored a touchdown. He also played well at defensive back and recorded a stop behind the line of scrimmage.

"That is one of the best full football games Mark has played for us," Scott said. "The first ball game, his emotions got ahead of him a little bit but he's starting to center himself and he came up and tackled."

QB Logan Clark scored on a 1-yard plunge late in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 21 but De Soto couldn't close out the game.

Scott said that despite the three-game skid, his team was more competitive this year against Eudora and Louisburg,

"We've played two teams that beat us by a combined score of about 110 to 14 last year to a field goal at the end of regulation and a field goal in overtime," Scott said. "So our record doesn't show it but we are really close to being a very good football team.

"We've gotten so much better, the kids are buying into it, they're hanging tough and hanging together and we got better from last week."

Next up for the Wildcats is a road game Friday night at Baldwin.

"They're a good team, too," England said. "They beat us last year, but I think this year we have a better chance."

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