Cougars shut down
It was a dismal rainy time in Columbus last week as the visiting Jefferson County Panthers blanked the Cougars 35-0 in a gloomy non-conference game.
“We had an underwhelming performance, to say the least,” Cougar head coach Blake Hoge said. “Kudos to Boulder for executing their game plan and playing with an intensity we didn’t match. They’re a great team and will have success going forward into the playoffs.”
The Panthers have 15 seniors on the squad – including the entire offensive line. But it was sophomore Nate Burnett who was in the limelight, scoring on runs of 43, 10, 60 and 4 yards. Junior Jacob Rasch scored on a 40-yard run, and senior Jared Padmus was 5-for-5 on point-after kicks.
The Panthers rang up 418 yards in offense, including 335 on the ground, but it was Jefferson’s stingy defense that really shined.
“Offensively, beyond a 54 yard catch from Kiefer McKay, we were largely held in check, totaling only 131 yards,” Hoge said. “This was the first game where we struggled controlling the line of scrimmage, and it showed in our third down conversion rate – two out of 13.”
Boulder effectively controlled the ball, Hoge said, outpacing the Cougars in total plays, 53 to 49, and in first downs, 15 to 7.
“Our defense kept us in the game early, but couldn’t sustain after being on the field for so long,” Hoge said.
Hoge credited junior tight end Jace Aumueller and senior quarterback Tanner Osborne with a commendable job of fighting through double teams all night.
“Michael Jacobson had a heck of a game from his defensive tackle spot, hustling to make plays all over the field,” Hoge said. “Chaz Krone led us again in tackles, getting three tackles for a loss shooting in from his inside linebacker spot.”
Junior linebackers Jack Gray, Chuck Miller and EJ Daniels contributed three solo tackles and three assists each.
“Whenever you struggle as we struggled on Friday night, you have to re-evaluate what you’re doing and how you’re doing it – starting with me at the top,” Hoge said. “Everything starts with practice, and I’ve got to do a better job preparing players physically, mentally and schematically throughout the week.”
The Cougars will approach practice from a few different angles this week and see what resonates best with the players, Hoge said.
“We’ve got to learn from Friday’s loss and push ourselves to take that next step so when confronted with another such challenge, we’ll be ready to take advantage of it,” he said.
The Cougars are now 1-0 in conference and 3-2 overall. Next up is an away conference game in Joliet against the J-Hawks on Friday, Oct. 9.
Jefferson 35, Columbus 0
Jefferson 7 7 21 0 – 35
Columbus 0 0 0 0 – 0
Jefferson: Nate Burnett 43 run (Jared Padmas kick)
Jefferson: Burnett 10 run (Padmas kick)
Jefferson: Burnett 60 run (Padmas kick)
Jefferson: Burnett 4 run (Padmas kick)
Jefferson: Jacob Rasch 40 run (Padmas kick)