Steers lose to Iowa Park Hawks in district opener
The Graham Steers football woes continued on Oct. 11 when the team traveled to Iowa Park to face the Hawks in the district opener. It would be understandable if the team was confident heading into the matchup.
The Steers went undefeated in the district last year and had not lost to the Hawks since 2005. That winning streak ended and the season losing streak extended to four games as the Steers fell to the Hawks, 34-9.
Throughout the season, the Steers have struggled with stopping big plays from opposing offenses. Those struggles continued throughout the game against the Hawks. Seven players had plays for more than 20 yards in the loss, including a 71-yard touchdown pass by Trent Green to Cirby Coheley. The Steers’ offense struggled in the first quarter, earning one first down, which did not occur until there were three seconds left.
With plenty of opportunities to score, the Hawks jumped ahead quickly. On the opening drive of the game, the Hawks marched downfield and Coheley scored the first of his two touchdowns on a two-yard run.
After a Steers punt pinned the Hawks back to their five-yard-line, the defense looked primed to make a stop. The Hawks’ offense charged forward. With the ball on the Steers’ 45 yard-line, Green tossed the ball to Coheley, who, instead of running, passed the ball to a wide-open Caden Ashlock. With nobody between him and the end zone, Ashlock took the reception the rest of the distance for a touchdown.
The Steers have had issues snapping the ball all season. Those issues continued on their second drive of the night. Faced with third-and-8, quarterback Hunter Lanham had to pull down a high snap. Unable to completely recover, he was sacked in the backfield and fumbled the ball. The Hawks recovered the ball on the Steers 27-yard-line. The defense held firm and kept the Hawks from gaining a single yard for four-straight downs to force a turnover-on-downs. However, the offense could not take advantage and had to punt on another three-and-out. The Hawks had no trouble on their next possession and scored on a 30-yard pass from Green to Slayton Ochoa.
The Hawks led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
With all of the struggles in the past month, it would be easy to understand if the team were to get discouraged after the fast start. However, the Steers fought back. JJ Lee ran the ball 36 yards to get to the Hawks goal-line. Lanham capped the drive with a quarterback sneak to get the Steers on the board. The Steers defense held the Hawks without a single score in the second quarter. The Hawks looked poised to score as the half was drawing to a close. With the help of a late hit penalty against the Steers, the Hawks drove to the Steers 21 yard-line. A holding penalty negated a Green pass to the Steers 2-yard-line. Momentum began to change. On the final play of the half, Corey Ballew got past the offensive line and sacked Green near the 50 yard-line. “I liked it, (we) fought back,” coach Kenny Davidson said after the game.
For the rest of the story, see the Wednesday, Oct. 16 edition of The Graham Leader.