WILSON - Mental mistakes and turnovers can be the bane of any football team at any level.
On Friday night, it was the Fredonia Hillbillies' turn to be the victim as they fell, 20-7, to the Wilson Lakemen in a Class C North battle.
It was Fredonia's first road loss in three years.
"It just wasn't a real smart game for us," Fredonia coach Bob Ball said. "We had twice as much offense and twice as many first downs. We were just undisciplined."
Both teams found the end zone in the first quarter.
Wilson struck first on a 22-yard touchdown run by Justin Slango, who led the Lakemen with 83 yards on 17 carries.
Fredonia answered right back with a 1-yard dive by Jude Gardner. Trent Thompson added the point after to give the Hillbillies a momentary 7-6 lead.
Zach Buckley, Fredonia's powerhouse tailback, was hurt in the first quarter and played only one series the rest of the game, though he contributed on the defensive side of the ball at his linebacker position.
"He went out with a sprained ankle," Ball commented. "He played the one series early in the fourth quarter. I tried him for that series and just wasn't comfortable sending him out there."
Wilson used a pair of lightning quick scores to take control of the game in the second quarter.
First came a 79-yard touchdown pass from Tim Walsh to Will Hall.
"We played pretty good defense the whole game except that 79-yard pass," Ball added.
The second Wilson score was the back-breaker for Fredonia.
Down 12-7, the Hillbillies were going to be content to head into halftime with a five-point deficit, but a muffed exchange led to a fumble that Wilson's Steve Szuba scooped up and ran back 24 yards for a touchdown.
It wasn't so much the physical mistakes that got Ball's blood boiling, but the repeated late personal foul penalties on his offense that put Fredonia in a hole to begin with.
"Undisciplined," he described his team's play. "We had three (personal foul penalties) in a row to stop drives. We weren't thinking. We weren't playing smart.
"We tried to address that after the game," he continued. "We tried to explain to them that you have to play with your head and your body. I'm just very disappointed with our discipline after the whistle."
Neither Fredonia nor Wilson was able to muster much offense in the second half as both teams were kept off the scoreboard.
Without their top offensive weapon in Buckley, the Hillbillies turned to Tyler Cassidy, who piled up 60 yards on 13 carries.
Fredonia's passing game didn't have much success either as Thompson completed just three of his 18 pass attempts.
"He made a few mistakes," Ball said of his quarterback. "He had a couple interceptions that were on him. He made a couple of bad reads, but the receivers have to help him out. They altered their routes. We've been dropping some passes the last couple weeks. Again, he played well but he made a few mistakes."
In a game where not a whole lot went his team's way, Ball found a way to see some bright spots.
"We ran 57 offensive plays to (Wilson's) 38," he pointed out. "So we were moving the ball. The guys played hard between the whistles. They executed the game plan. We were playing well during the actual play, but it was after the play that we had the stupid mental stuff. We're going to have to address that as coaches.
"The only thing we can do now is look ahead and go back to game-planning," Ball concluded. "There's nothing we can do about this one now."