Badgers slow start leads to 22-9 loss in Depew

OBSERVER Staff Report

DEPEW — Fredonia-Westfield-Brocton (1-3, 0-3) fell to the Depew (2-2, 2-2) Wildcats 22-9 Friday night in Class B2 South football.

The Badgers entered the game without starting offensive lineman Jamison Horch, and were unable to get the offense rolling as the Wildcats attacked and made things difficult for F-W-B.

“We didn’t really get much going and Depew got after us,” Badgers coach Greg Sherlock said. “They put the heat on us and we have a young offensive line. We’re young and we didn’t have Jamison Horch due to a shoulder injury last game. … When they were blitzing we weren’t stepping into the blitzers. … I just moved too many players around in positions they haven’t been in.”

Depew struck first after the Badgers’ first drive of the game ended with an interception. Set up deep in Badger territory, Wildcats quarterback Joe Pagano ran it in from a yard out. Following the two-point conversion, the Wildcats would go up 8-0 to end the quarter.

The second quarter was highlighted by a 23-yard touchdown pass to Chad Biersbach from Pagano, putting Depew up 14-0 going into the half.

In the third, the Badgers would catch a break when a end zone punt by Depew was called back due to a holding call that resulted in a safety, putting the Badgers on the board at 14-2.

In the fourth quarter, Depew again attacked on a fourth and goal situation, converting on a 1-yard touchdown pass to wideout Biersbach, stretching the lead 22-2.

The Badgers didn’t go down without a fight. With approximately five minutes remaining, Ka’Rim Levins tossed a 55-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Gardner to make it 22-9 after the extra point.“We’re just not scoring enough points,” Sherlock said of the loss. “We’re not moving the ball well. Our defense played fantastic again. We gave it to them (early in the game) and they scored on a fourth and one. … There was poor communication between myself and our quarterback, and we ran the wrong play twice, (that resulted) in throwing the interception on third and one. … It all comes back to me and my offensive play calling.”

The 22-9 loss to Depew marks the second-straight loss by the Badgers. Horch’s absence certainly played a factor in this game. Techincal mistakes through coaching, as well as miscues and turnovers, have had their marks on the Badgers this season, and this may be due to growing pains.

“I agree with the growing pains but I expect more out of myself,” Sherlock said of the issue. “I talked to the kids about character. A lot of teams would fold (in games like this) and I don’t see that in our kids at all. They were hurting, they wanted that game bad — it’s a struggle. … We really need to get back to the basic things: blocking, tackling, etc. A lot of our guys are putting the hours in. … The kids put a lot into it. I probably should’ve just found one person to replace Jamison Horch rather than change three positions. I over-thought it and I think it hurt us in the end.”

F-W-B’s Jacob Skinner won the Character Award of the Game, in reference to Gene Master, a longtime coach at Grand Island.

“He’s only a sophomore and he’s put a lot of time in,” Sherlock said of Skinner. “He does exactly what we ask him to do. He’s gotten better every week. We’re asking a lot for a sophomore to play at middle linebacker, but he’s got a bright future for sure.”

F-W-B’s next football game will be played at home on Friday night against Springville. It’s the Badgers’ homecoming night.

NOTES: F-W-B had 79 yards rushing… Badgers’ quarterbacks finished a combined 8-for-18 for 79 yards with one touchdown and one interception… Nate Shuart had three carries for 26 yards… Joell Lozano had four carries for 23 yards… Nico Pucci registered a team-high 10 tackles… Skinner made seven tackles… Giovanni Russo recorded six tackles.