Coming off of a 5-5 season last year, the Patriots looked to start the year off as strong as they could against Quince Orchard.
As summer was coming to a close and students were heading back to school, the first game against the talented Cougars on Sept. 6 was on everyone’s mind. Students didn’t think the Patriots had any shot and neither did the players. “Not many of us thought we had a chance in that game. Based off of the scouting report and everything, it didn’t look good,” junior wide receiver Jack Grainge said.
Even though this was a popular opinion among students, it didn’t stop them from going to the game. Although the Patriots aren’t close to the skill level of the Cougars, the bleachers were filled and the crowds were loud. Students from Quince Orchard were seen tailgating in the parking lot for almost an hour before game time.
Once the game began, sophomore Kyler Hamlin got the start at quarterback but it didn’t seem as if he was in a hurry.
Between every play he would slow the play clock until it got inside of 10 seconds. “We milked the clock to keep the score as low as possible. We were trying to not have the game get out of hand,” Grainge said.
This is a tactic often used to shorten the game, and the Patriots succeeded in doing that although it didn’t exactly help them. In the first quarter the team got down by 22 points. They weren’t being aggressive, either setting up in different formations to then rush up the middle of the field or throwing screen passes for a minimal gain.
The Cougars were quick to the ball on every run, and shut down every passing lane when the Patriots did try to throw the ball down the field. “Their defense was though and one of the best defenses that we will face all year,” senior linebacker Arian Nyandjo said.
The game ended with a final score of 56-0 and the Patriots immediately turned their attention to the future. “That was the hardest team in our schedule and we can only go up from here,” Nyandjo said.
Trying to move on from a blow-out loss can be difficult. Senior wide receiver Larry Feldman believes they will be able to move on, and move on fast. “I think in the next couple games we can go on a streak that can turn our season around,” Feldman said.
The attempt to start that streak would be on Sept. 13 against the Whitman Vikings. However, it was a mirror image of the game against the Cougars. The Patriots found themselves down 27-0 at halftime. In the first half, Feldman and senior quarterback Keith Scott both suffered injuries which didn’t help the Patriots one bit.
The game ended 40-0 and the Patriots must regroup fast if they want any shot of beating Churchill tonight.