|Stats tell different story for Eagles than score|
|Joseph Elerson | News-Telegram Sports Writer|
Sept. 9, 2006 - CELESTE - Friday night was not the way the Como-Pickton Eagles wanted to head into their bye week.
The Eagles had more yards rushing (234) than the Celeste Blue Devils had total yards (224), had more penalty yards (84 for CPHS, 20 for Celeste) and more first downs (13-11), but could not pick up their first win in a 15-7 loss at Blue Devils Stadium.
"We are a young team and there is not one team that cares how young we are," said CPHS coach Joe Ryzman. "As a matter of fact, whoever we play is glad that we are a young team because young players make mistakes.
"We have to eliminate those mistakes and those penalties and get past that. Part of the game is the physical part of the preparation and the other part is the mental part, and I challenged our kids to do a better part in the mental preparation."
CPHS (0-2) goes into their bye week before returning home to face the Union Hill Bulldogs at Ron Heflin Field on Sept. 22, and Ryzman said the players will bounce back strong from this loss.
"A lot of that has to do with the character of the kids and I don't question the character of my kids. They are going to bounce back and prepare for the next team just like they would if we would have won," he said. "I see our kids fired up and ready to play in two weeks."
Como-Pickton bounced back strong from their 32-0 loss last week to the Rivercrest Rebels with a strong running game led by sophomore running back Alex Williams - who finished with 20 carries for 109 yards and one touchdown.
Williams scored in the first quarter on a 34-yard scamper for an early 7-0 lead. Noe Tellez kicked the PAT good with 4:11 remaining in the quarter.
"I saw a lot of lead blockers in front of those running backs, and that is what I saw," the coach said. "I saw a well-orchestrated game plan and I have confidence in the offense that we are running. When we executed it right we were able to move the ball tonight, and what set us back was the penalties."
The C-P defense held Celeste to only three first downs in the first half but gave up a touchdown with 4:38 remaining by running back Sammie Townes.
On the PAT, Celeste fumbled the snap and Casey Barbee recovered the ball, rolled around the right side of the line and threw up a desperation pass into the end zone as Fritiz Vale grabbed the ball in the back of the end zone for the two-point conversion to give the Blue Devils the lead at 8-7.
In the second half, both teams could not find the end zone, and in the third quarter the Eagles made two big stops deep in their own territory.
With 4:48 remaining in the quarter, the CPHS defense stopped Celeste on downs as Barbee completed a pass to David Wilson on fourth-and-11 from the 11-yard line as Wilson went for no gain on the completion.
Later in the quarter, CPHS again stopped a Celeste drive as Aaron Kramer intercepted a Barbee pass in the end zone as both teams headed into the fourth quarter at 8-7.
"You have to feel good about your defense making those kinds of stops and it shows a lot of internal fortitude in your kids," Ryzman said. "That is always a momentum changer, but momentum only lasts for as long as the last play and you have got to keep it going."
With 3:10 remaining in the contest, Townes put the nail in the coffin with a 5-yard run as Barbee nailed the PAT good for the 15-7 win.
C-P senior fullback Alex Mowat finished the game with 15 carries for 76 yards and quarterback Noe Tellez had four carries for 30 yards. He also went 1-of-8 passing for 17 yards.
"The execution was good tonight, the blocking was better, the running backs were running right, but we've have got to eliminate the penalties in order to be successful," Ryzman said.
Notes: The Eagles had 13 first downs in the contest - which were all rushing. ... Quitman, Hawkins and Grand Saline were victorious in non-district action Friday night. ... The Eagles had 252 yards of total offense after only having 85 yards of offense in last week's loss. ... The Eagles' next two games will be at home with Homecoming scheduled for Sept. 29 against the Quinlan Boles Hornets.