If you dig deep enough, you eventually hit China. Dig a little deeper and you will find the Battle Ground Academy Wildcats (1-1) and the hole they dug themselves into with turnovers in their loss to the Father Ryan Fightin’ Irish (1-1) Friday night.
Three lost fumbles, three interceptions, and one 98-yard kick return by FR’s “fast” Jack Shoulders add up to one loss and what BGA coach Roc Batton calls “mental error football.”
“You cannot win games with blown assignments, turnovers, missed tackles and special-teams touchdowns,” he said.
The game looked like a defensive struggle after the first quarter, with punt after punt. But the legs of Wildcat running back Ronald Cleveland (4 rush, 42 yards) took him 39-yards and into the end zone less than a minute into the second quarter, as BGA drew first blood and went up 7-0.
But before the stands stopped stomping Shoulders shut them up with his 98-yard body punch, and less than a minute into the second quarter the game was tied 7-7.
What came in the next three quarters must have made BGA fans feel like Sisyphus, forever pushing his boulder uphill, because every time it looked like the ‘cats were about to get somewhere, an interception or a fumble rolled them back down the hill.
The game was still within reach, 17-7, for the ‘cats in the middle of the fourth quarter, after FR missed a field goal at the BGA 17. But on the next play sophomore running back Terrell Webster coughed up the ball and Andrew Rector recovered for the Padres. Two plays, 17-yards and one DeKeivis Perry (8 rushes, 72 yards; 3 rec.,43 yards) run for 13 yards put the game out of reach for good, 24-7 with the PAT.
But even the missed field-goal helped with the win, said Father Ryan coach Bruce Lussier.
“It used up almost seven minutes of the clock,” he said, in what was then a close, low-scoring game.
“The win was huge,” said Lussier. “We needed it, and it will give us confidence for next week.”
As for next week, FR hosts its home opener next Friday against the Brentwood Academy Eagles, a team this year which several witnesses have identified as a category-5 hurricane. Though this rumor is unverified, the Fightin’ Irish will find out next week.