Mistakes tie up young Hounds in loss

Published 1:33 am Saturday, September 19, 2009

FERRIDAY — After Huntington coach Chad Harkins had to dismiss two players from the team this week, it made an already young team that much younger.

And that inexperience showed in a 20-6 home loss to Riverdale Friday night.

The Hounds fell behind early and kept shooting themselves in the foot with mistakes in their attempt to catch up.

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“We had some adversity that the team had to overcome this week,” Huntington defensive coordinator Matt Mason said. “Now we have an extra-young team, and we made a lot of mistakes. We had a lot of big plays called back because of penalties.”

Two consecutive plays late in the fourth quarter pretty much summed up the night for the Hounds.

Trailing 14-6 with under three minutes remaining, freshman running back Shaq Witherspoon caught a screen pass from quarterback Jess Dossett and turned it into a 61-yard gain to the 19-yard line.

After playing a sloppy game up to that point, Huntington looked like it finally had the momentum and was poised to score the tying touchdown.

However, on the very next play, Dossett was intercepted at the 7-yard line after receiver Jeremiah Powell slipped and fell on his route.

Riverdale sealed the victory on the next play as running back Matt Makowsky ran around right end, then cut back against the grain for a 93-yard touchdown run with 2:20 remaining.

It was a fitting end to a night that saw the Hounds offense move the ball up and down the field, but fail to put the ball in the end zone time after time.

Huntington had two drives in the first half that ended inside the 10-yard line, once on a fourth down and the other on a Witherspoon fumble on the final play of the first half.

Huntington outgained Riverdale 323-264, but the difference was much more than that before Makowsky’s 93-yard touchdown run.

However, Huntington had 10 penalties for 85 yards, several of them momentum killers after big plays.

“When you’re as young as we are, you’re going to have mistakes,” Mason said. “With some of the adversity we had to deal with this week, we were making adjustments with guys playing new positions. It will just take some time to learn it. We’ve got to refocus and just get better each week.”

Riverdale jumped out on top on its first drive of the game, as the Rebels drove 55 yards on just six plays for a touchdown.

Quarterback Andrew Driggers found a wide-open Zach Johnson for a 20-yard score just four minutes into the game for a 6-0 lead.

The Rebels extended their lead on their first drive of the second half, as Driggers found Matt Warren on a slant route for a 17-yard touchdown less than two minutes into the third quarter.

Huntington finally got on the scoreboard with 40 seconds left in the third as Kevin Brown crashed in the end zone from three yards out.

Huntington had its one final chance to tie the score, but Dossett’s interception and Makowsky’s long touchdown run sealed the win for the Rebels.

Huntington gets back into district play next week as the Hounds travel to play Briarfield. A Huntington loss will mathematically eliminate them from playoff contention.

Mason said with the team now younger than ever, the Hounds will just try to work to improve each week and build for the future.

“Our goal now is to work hard and get better each week,” Mason said. “Hopefully our two seniors (Dossett and Cody Dye) will have a good year and help get our young guys ready for the future. The team unity was good today and we expect to keep that unity and come out and practice hard together.”