Steers fall to Springtown
Points were at a premium Friday night. Both teams struggled to run the ball. Springtown took advantage of two bigs plays to beat Graham 19-14 Friday night in Springtown.
The Steers played their best football of the night in the first quarter. The Steers received the ball to open the game after the Porcupines deferred to the second half. They moved into the Porcupines' end of the field with ease and nearly scored on a big play from 40-plus yards out. Quarterback Hunter Lanham found Gage Faulk open at the 18-yard-line. After catching the pass, Faulk fumbled into the end zone after being chased down. The Porcupines' Dylan Davis recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchback.
The Porcupines took advantage and looked get on the scoreboard first. The hosts were able to drive into the red zone and quarterback Camden Chesney saw an option he liked in the end zone. JJ Lee had other plans and picked off the pass, returning it for 13 yards.
It didn't take long for the Steers to respond. Tre Alveraz, on his lone catch of the day, took the ball 80 yards. Two plays later, Daniel Gilbertson picked up his lone score of the night on a four-yard run. Chandler Dyer's extra point kick gave the Steers a 7-0 lead.
The Steers found themselves with a chance to extend the lead early in the second quarter. Chesney threw his second interception of the night, this to Raider Horn, who was tackled on the Springtown 27-yard-line.
After pushing to the three-yard-line, the Steers were called for an offsides penalty on fourth-and-goal. After a timeout, Lanham's pass to Gilbertson at the goal-line was incomplete for a turnover-on-downs. The first quarter expired with the Steers leading 7-0.
Chesney only had three connections with wide receiver Andy Behle three times in the game. Two of those passes were for big games on busted coverage from the Steers' defense. First, with 5:42 remaining in the half, Chesney found Behle by himself for a 44-yard touchdown pass. After Southern Methodist University recruit Brendan Hall's kick sailed wide left, the Steers held on to a 7-6 lead.
The Steers offense stalled in the second quarter. After taking advantage of run blitzes in the first quarter, the Steers struggled with adjustments made in the second. They were never a threat to score in the second quarter. After a Chesney nine-yard-pass to Brodee Trejo and failed two-point conversion, the Porcupines led 12-7 going into halftime.
"We knew going into it that Springtown is a tough team," said Steers coach Kenny Davidson. "We thought we had a good chance to get there and still had timeouts left in the first half.
Behle had the lone score of the third quarter for either team on another big play. On the opening play from scrimmage of the second half, Behle was free for a 91-yard touchdown pass from Chesney. Behle finished the game with three receptions for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
Neither team could gain momentum from their offense for sustained drives for the remainder of the game. Dropped passes plagued the Steers throughout the game. This led to the Steers going 2-15 on third down. They fared better on fourth down conversion attempts, but struggled to get near the end zone except for a five-yard-pass from Lanham to Ryan Grimsley from six yards out, a fouth-down conversion.
The Steers' defense kept the team in contention throughout the game, including the closing minutes. The Porcupines held the ball with 5:07 to play and just needed to keep the clock running. The defense forced a punt with 3:48 remaining, giving the Steers the back on their 29-yard-line with 3:48 to drive the field.
Facing third-and-six from their 33-yard-line, Lanham found Noah Jilek, who was tackled one yard shy of the first down. A false start penalty pushed it back to fourth-and-six. Corey Ballew's punt stopped at the Porcupines 40-yard-line.
The Porcupines ran the clock out after a first down to secure the win. They improved to 1-1 on the season while the Steers dropped to 1-1. Lanham threw 17 completions for 255 yards and a touchdown. Gilbertson was held to 69 rushing yards on 25 carries and one touchdown. Matthew Lindquist had eight catches for 74 yards.
"We're just going to have to get home and get better," Davidson said. "Yeah, we left points out there and you can't do that against good teams."
The Steers enter the first of three open weeks for the season. The Steers had a game lined up for Friday until the prospective opponent backed out. As it stands, the Steers next game will be the home opener against Decatur on Sept 18 at 7 p.m.