Pilots Fumble Away A 6-0 Shutout
The River Pilots squandered several opportunities to put the Newcomerstown Trojans away, but costly fumbles and interceptions kept the Pilots from gaining win number two in a 6-0 loss to the Trojans, Sept. 2, at Flannery Field in Hannibal.
The Pilots held the Trojans to a three-and-out and drove all the way inside their guests’ 30 yard line before losing the ball on a fumble.
Newcomerstown couldn’t move the ball on the ground, as the Pilot defense held the Trojans in check. Meanwhile, the Pilot offense shot itself in the foot numerous times on their next couple possessions.
After the Pilots’ missed opportunity, the Trojans were in business and connected through the air on a 58-yard touchdown pass. However, River’s JD Dotson got a paw on the conversion kick and kept the score 6-0.
The Pilots moved the ball, but an interception turned the drive into another missed opportunity to score. Last week’s hero, Nick Asturi, made a nice defensive stop on a seven-yard loss of yardage tackle and a four-yard quarterback sack held off a Trojan drive.
Sophomore Jordan Sapp scampered 25 yards on the ensuing drive and Bryce Cross caught two nice catches from QB Cody Caldwell late in the second period inside the 15 yard line. Caldwell tried to thread the needle, but the Trojans intercepted the ball at the one yard line to keep the Pilots from scoring once again.
The Pilot defense held Newcomerstown twice and called time out to get an opportunity to get the ball back. But, on third down, the Pilots missed a chance to get the ball and their guests made enough yardage to move the chains and go into the locker room up 6-0.
River got the ball back at the 20 yard line on the second-half kickoff. After gaining a first down and moving the ball on the ground quite efficiently, the Pilots shot themselves in the foot once more with another fumble.
Newcomerstown connected on another long pass and was knocking at the door inside the Pilot 15 yard line. After an Asturi tackle at the line of scrimmage, the Trojans fumbled, but recovered the ball at the 20 yard line. The Pilot defense held and took over on downs. River got 15 yards closer to the end zone when the Trojans were called for pass interference. However, later River was forced to punt.
After a Trojan first down, Cross made a nice interception and River was back in business with three minutes remining in the third period. Caldwell went back to pass, but, finding no one open, tucked it in and gained a first down on some nifty running. However, the drive would stall and the Pilots would punt.
Newcomerstown blocked the punt and the Trojans were in business once more. After they got the ball to midfield, the Pilots’ Logan Postle recovered a fumble at the 47 yard line, giving River good field position to start the next drive.
After a pass from Caldwell was dropped at the 20 yard line, Newcomerstown held on and later blocked a Colton Wright field goal. River missed other offensive opportunities and couldn’t take advantage of field position.
River had 116 yards through the air and one touchdown, while out-gaining the Trojans 124 yards to 24 yards on the ground. River moved the chains 15 times to 10 for Newcomerstown.
Caldwell was 8-21 for 116 yards and a TD, and was picked off twice. Jordan Sapp rushed for 57 yards, with the longest going for 17 yards. Austin McConn added 50 yards, while Asturi netted 21 yards on eight carries
Devon Knowlton caught one pass for 37 yards. Cross snagged two passes for 34 yards, while McConn caught two for 23 yards. Garth Richter grabbed two passes out of the air for 20 yards and Asturi caught one for eight yards.
Defensively, Asturi had seven solo tackles and assisted on two others. Five of his solos were for losses of yardage, including a quarterback sack. Caldwell contributed five lone tackles, including one for loss of yardage, and assisted on another. Richter made five tackles, while Postle added three assists and had five solo stops, including three for loss of yardage. He also recovered a fumble recovery. Cross intercepted the football once.
The Pilots will host Monroe Central at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, at Flannery Field.