For The Tribune
Mistakes seemed to be the difference for Trinity Lutheran’s football team Friday night as they dropped a game 33-20 against Oldenburg Academy Friday night at home.
The Cougars (0-5) played a solid game coach Mike Wilson said, but just made a few errors that put them behind.
Trinity gave up 13 points off turnovers and seven points on a special teams error.
Despite the errors, Wilson said he feels his team is taking a step in the right direction.
“They grow every week and this week they did,” he said. “They can’t be happy with steps though and have to finish. They worked really hard.”
The Cougars struck first after the Twisters fumbled a high snap on third down.
The Cougars recovered on the 27 yard line, which set up a 17-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Goecker to Jack Marksberry. Kaleb Baumgartel’s extra point was good and the Cougars were up 7-0 with 9:59 left in the first quarter.
The Twisters got the ball back at the 30 yard line on a long return from Matthew Sedler. The Cougars showed good defense and forced a fourth down.
The Twisters took a risk and ran it on fourth and six. The gamble paid off and Eli Sporleder ended up scoring on a 26-yard touchdown. Lucas McFee’s kick made it a 7-7 game with 8:18 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Cougars turned it over on downs, but then got the ball back when Goecker intercepted the ball near the end zone. That gave the Cougars the ball on their own 2-yard line. The Cougars were able to move the ball down the field on a few runs and looked to be gaining momentum.
That’s when the Twisters were able to strip Goecker while he was looking for an open receiver in the pocket.
The Twisters found themselves with the ball on the 15 and scored three plays later on a nine-yard run from Sporleder. The Twisters led the Cougars 13-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter proved to be more trouble for the Cougars as they were outscored 14-0.
Oldenburg Academy scored their first touchdown on a fluke play when Trinity punted the ball that hit a Trinity blocker directly in the back and bounced into the end. The ball was recovered in the end zone by Branson Schonfeld at the 8:51 mark in the second quarter.
The next touchdown was scored on a two-yard run by Schonfeld with 2:08 left in the quarter. Schonfeld had intercepted the ball three plays earlier on an interception thrown by Goecker.
The 2:08 remaining in the quarter was not enough for the Cougars to string together enough plays. The Cougars marched down the field on runs that totalled 30 yards, but were unable to secure a pass from 11 yards out from a touchdown.
It wasn’t for a lack of attempts though, as Goecker tried to find wide receiver Jacob Rowe twice in the end zone and Jake VonDielingen once. VonDielingen’s pass was nearly caught, but fell after a Twister defender was able to deflect the pass to end the half. The Twisters led 27-7 at the half.
The Cougars had the ball to open the second half and put together a 13-play, 65-yard drive to score. Bryce Lister scored for the Cougars on a six-yard run at the 4:38 mark to bring the score 27-14.
The drive also featured a 12-yard pass to Jacob Rowe and a 16-yard run by Rowe. It appeared the drive was over when the Cougars failed to convert on fourth down, but the Twisters hit Goecker late for a roughing the passer call. That set up the run by Lister.
The Cougars had the ball to open the fourth quarter as well after an impressive defensive stand where the Cougars stopped the Twisters on third and three and fourth and three.
Then the Cougars drove down the field into the red zone. It looked as though the Cougars were on the way to making the game a one possession game when Goecker’s pass was intercepted by Glenn Geraci.
Geraci returned the interception 84 yards for the score. Wilson said that play was his fault because he sensed the team needed to take a timeout, but didn’t.
“I sensed they were getting anxious and thought about taking a timeout, but I didn’t because they were moving the ball well,” Wilson said. “So that one there is on me because I should have taken that timeout and let them relax.”
The Cougars didn’t give up though. They forced a turnover on downs as the Twisters tried to run the clock out. Then took the ball and drove down the field.
Goecker completed a 17-yard pass to Josh Rowe and then a 23-yard touchdown to Jacke VonDielingen. But it was too late as the Cougars scored with 1:07 remaining in the game. An onside kick was unsuccessful and the Twisters were able to run out the clock.
Wilson said his team will continue to work and improve.
“We will look at it and work,” he said, adding he was encouraged by the way the defense made some big plays. “The defense really had some big plays where we weren’t letting their offense run us over.”