Sunday, August 31, 2008

SE offense sputters in loss / Bliss' Tigers Wing-it to a win

SE offense sputters in loss
Edwardsville starts season off wrong for Spartans again

Posted Aug 30, 2008 @ 01:11 AM
Last update Aug 30, 2008 @ 10:14 AM

Before the season began, Southeast High School coach Jeff Thomas talked about adversity and how his team hadn’t encountered any in the preseason.

In the season opener on Friday at Spartan Field, Thomas and his squad got more than their fair share in losing to Edwardsville 29-7 in the non-conference contest.

The Spartans’ defense played relatively well, including holding the Southwestern Conference representative to one third-quarter score in the second half.

But the offense sputtered, missing two scoring opportunities in the second quarter, albeit one that most thought the Spartans had taken away from them.

“It was a momentum breaker right there, we had the momentum going down in the end zone, but it’s OK, those things happen,” Thomas said.

Down 21-0 at the 6-minute mark of the second quarter, Southeast (0-1) took possession of a lost fumble on its own 34-yard line, moving 65 yards in a little more than 4 minutes to set up a second-and-goal on the Edwardsville 1.

Most Southeast fans thought their team went 66 yards, as Anthony Harrison spun on a third-and-goal and appeared to break the plane of the goal line. A scrum ensued, with the ball recovered by the Edwardsville defense in the end zone and ruled a touchback by officials.

“I’m not going to dwell on it, but I seriously know that changes the game,” Thomas said. “(A touchdown) keeps us in our game plan the whole night.”

Edwardsville (1-0) which had outscored the Spartans 133-2 in winning the previous three games, displaying a modified single wing offense under new coach Mark Bliss.

The end results were the same, as the Tigers posted 384 total yards, highlighted by 287 yards rushing. That was topped by quarterback Ishmiah Roundtree’s game-high 140 rushing yards and TD run of 39 yards that put his team up 29-0 early in the third quarter.

Running back Max Andresen opened the scoring in the first quarter, capping a four-play, 59-yard drive with a run from the 17 with 2:09 remaining. Andresen finished with 103 yards on 10 carries.

Roundtree showed off his passing ability in the second quarter, hitting Joe Randazzo and Kraig Rehkemper with TD passes of 40 and 16 yards. Sam Fink’s extra point and Gabe Carpenter’s 2-point conversion put the Tigers up 21-0 at the half.

“In terms of getting a win, we got a win,” Bliss said. “But in terms of finishing on drives, there were three drives that we did not finish on. We’ve got some work to do.”

Thomas, while basically admitting the same thing, emphasized the positive, in particular the play of junior running back Jonathan Rouse. Rouse posted a team-high 118 yards on 11 carries, scoring the home team’s lone TD on a 61-yard scamper with 1:36 left in the fourth quarter.

Rouse gave the fans a boost in the second quarter with a 64-yard kickoff return after doing just enough to keep the ball from going into the end zone.

That was a prelude to one of the should-have-been scores, as the Spartans went six yards on the following four plays, losing the ball on a recovered fumble on fourth-and-4.

“The defense did a great job,” Bliss said. “We’ve got 11 guys who fly to the ball. We teach our kids we want to run to the brown ball.”

The State Journal-Register
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Springfield, IL 62701

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