Running game pays off for Demons
Even with a 21-point season-opening win against rival Mid-Prairie, head coach Randy Schrader believes the Demons still have plenty of work to do before they are ready to face off against No. 4 ranked Pella at Case Field Friday.
Schrader said the Demons played a solid game in the first half, racking up 28 points while only allowing the Golden Hawks one touchdown. It was in the second half Schrader said the team began to get complacent. Both teams scored one touchdown in the fourth quarter to end the game 35-14. After the game, Washington was ranked 15th in the 3A class, while Mid-Prairie ended up ranked 22nd in the 2A class.
“I think we came out of the first two drives doing a good job and doing the things we needed to do,” Schrader said. “ We got into the second half and we just got complacent and took a lot of things for granted. That’s OK. It is the first game and we have the opportunity to fix the mistakes we had and hopefully be ready for Pella.”
While Schrader didn’t single out any specific plays as being outstanding, he said that the team simply doing what they are supposed to do was responsible for the win. He said the offensive line being efficient allowed for the early scores.
Even with the early scoring, Schrader said that there were two plays that could have easily been touchdowns that the Demons missed. He said that one punt return that was a touchdown was called back due to a block in the back. A possible long pass play was also dropped.
“We didn’t have any really big plays, he said. “We were consistent in moving the football. We had some opportunities for some big plays.”
He said that the Golden Hawks did have some big plays against the Demons, including one long pass play that resulted in a touchdown two plays later. Another run scored the Hawks 50 yards, a rush that Schrader said was the result of poor defense from the Demons.
With the defensive goal of keeping other teams under 100 yards of rushing, Schrader said the Demons gave up 130 yards. He said that there were some communication issues and some back end players who weren’t where they should have been. He also said the team hadn’t tackled well during the game.
“We tackle every day in practice, so that shouldn’t be an issue,” he said. “It became an issue because we have some guys take poor angles, which resulted in big plays for them. You can’t have that against good football teams. If that happens to us this week against Pella, the score is not going to be in our favor.”
Schrader said the problems were “fixable” and the team will be drilling such things as angles and pursuit.
The Demons opened the scoring about halfway into the first quarter when Alex Coker leapt from the 1-yard line through Mid-Prairie defensive line to score. The second score of the game came about seven minutes later when quarterback Daryn Seibelius ran the ball 11 yards into the end zone.
The Hawks ended the second quarter with a 76-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard touchdown from Reid Miller. The Demons responded with an 80-yard drive ending with Carl Sivels diving the last two yards to end the scoring for the first half.
“We struggled,” said Hawk head coach Pete Cavanaugh. “I think we struggled with their size and their depth. There are definitely some things to work on.”
Even as quarterback, Seibelius led the team in rushing, racking up 111 yards during the game, followed by Coker, who ran for 110 yards.
Seibelius said that there had been no set strategy going into the game, other than not to underestimate Mid-Prairie just because the Hawks play a class lower. He said that the running game came out of the earlier plays.
“I can always choose to run every play,” Seibelius said. “We just stuck with the running game because it was working for us. If it works we just keep doing it.”
The Hawks tried to rally in the second half, holding the Demons to one touchdown from Sivels, while also scoring one, compliments of a 75-yard run from Austin Slabaugh.
“I think we did a good job in the second half slowing down their running game,” Cavanaugh said. “Offensively, we were just inconsistent and we were never able to get a running game going.”
He said the team hadn’t quit and credits the Demons’ “calling of the dogs” in the second quarter with the team’s performance.
Cavanaugh said that the Hawks will be working on holding blocks and tackling before facing off against Clear Creek Amana Friday.
Seibelius said that when the Demons face off against Pella, the key will be for everyone to go into the game knowing what they need to do and to do it. He said that the first game had shown him where the relatively young team has some areas that need attention.
“A win is a win, but we have a lot of things to improve on,” Seibelius said.
Schrader said that playing a team from a different class is a “lose-lose” situation. He said that the team from the higher class is always expected to win — and win by a wide margin.
“It is kind of a typical first game,” Schrader said. “They say a team improves the most between the first and second game.”