In a hard fought contest, sometimes it's difficult to pinpoint decisive moments in a game. For the South Putnam Eagles three failed fourth down conversions in the second half were key in their 14-0 loss to Tri-West.
After a shaky first possession, the Eagles put together an 18-play drive that stalled on the 22-yard line. South Putnam brought their kicking unit on the field, but sophomore kicker Jake Gould's kick sailed wide left. That would be the Eagles only scoring attempt on the night.
However, the Bruins came out on their first possession and drove the ball down the field and scored on a Jake Allen's 11-yard scamper.
Stout defense kept the Eagles close at halftime, as they trailed just 7-0.
After the half, the Eagles continued to pound Tri-West on defense but as the game wore on, the Bruins were just too much. Tri-West added their second and final score when Caleb Ross took the ball in from seven yards out with 2:38 in the third.
The running game worked well for South Putnam on the night. They rushed for 165 as a team, with Drew Cash accounting for 94 of those yards. Burgess gave credit to his line for playing well and helping the rusher find their was into the Bruins' defense.
Another thing that hurt the Eagles on the night was negative yardage. Whether it was running losses or penalties, the negative yardage crippled South Putnam's ability to advance.
"We're not built to go four or five wide, spread out and throw it all over the field," Burgess said. "We're going to run the football, you saw it tonight and that's what we're going to do. We can't play from first- and-fifteen or second-and- twelve; we can't afford the negative yards. We can't afford the false starts, the fumbles -- we just can't do that. We have to have positive yards and when we have the opportunities on fourth and one, fourth and two -- we have to execute those.
"We have to execute them and tonight, when we needed those three we didn't do it," Burgess commented.
With the Rockville Rox awaiting their arrival next Friday, Burgess and the Eagles will prep as they always do. With only 17 players seeing time on the field it's imperative that the Eagles maintain their health and build on their endurance.
"We're just going to keep doing what we do. We have to continue to get in better shape, keep running and get these guys ready to play," Burgess said.
Burgess also acknowledged the fact they'll be facing the same type of threat as they did tonight -- a very mobile quarterback. He felt his team did a good job against Tri-West and hopes they learn from the small mistakes they made against the Bruins.
"We're going to see another outstanding quarterback, they're going to spread it out and throw it 30 or 40 times and run around back there," Burgess commented. "Tonight I didn't think we did a bad job. On occasions we let him get outside on us a little bit, we've got to shore that up. When we do keep him contained, and I thought our ends did a pretty solid job of that, our other interior three and inside linebackers have to be there for the cutback.
"I thought that when we did contain him, we didn't get the cutback lanes," Burgess concluded.
The Eagles will travel to Rockville at 7 p.m. Friday.
At South Putnam
Tri-West 7 0 0 7 -- 14
S. Putnam 0 0 0 0 -- 0
8:25 -- Allen 11 run (Gadberry kick)
2:38 -- Ross 8 run (Gadberry kick)
Tri-West (38-212) -- Ross 20-111, Allen 13-82, Fredreck 2-12, O'Neil 3-7
South Putnam (43-165) -- Cash 25-94, Edwards 6-28, Knight 4-18, Tomaw 7-14, Welty 1-11
Tri-West -- Allen 5-11, 36 yds.
South Putnam -- Edwards 2-7, 2 Int., 17 yds; Tomaw 0-1, 1 Int.
Tri-West -- Keck 2-17, Sellers 1-13, Wright 1-12, Ross 1 (-6)
South Putnam -- Welty 2-17
Next game -- The Eagles will travel to Rockville at 7 p.m. Friday.