By: T.J. Hug
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
August 29th-ANTWERP: As a new season of football begins, the time has once again come to renew the unofficial rivalry between Edon and Antwerp.
Historically, this game has gone one of two ways, with few exceptions. Either Antwerp has beaten Edon by a large margin, or vice versa. So, when people not present at the game hear that Edon lost 27-12, they may think the Bombers were lucky just to keep the score that close.
That is, until they talk to the ones who saw the game in Antwerp.
Despite opening the game by giving up an 84 yard kick return for a touchdown, run back by the Archers’ Willie Jones, the Bombers had plenty of opportunities to take control of the game.
Indeed, the Edon offense, led by senior quarterback Kaden Sapp, displayed explosive potential. Yet it seemed they couldn’t stay out of their own way. To begin, three turnovers is going to hinder any team’s chances of victory, particularly when they take place right after, or even during, a big play.
Sapp was the catalyst of the Bomber attack, completing 14/29 of his passes for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not to mention he also led the team in rushing with 60 yards. However, he also had a fumble lost and an interception.
The fumble came early in the second half, with Edon driving. Sapp scrambled, eating up yards with his legs when Archer sophomore defensive tackle Mike Tayler stripped the ball from behind. The momentum shift led to an Antwerp touchdown pass.
But it was the interception that was downright heartbreaking. In the middle of the fourth quarter, with Edon needing more points on the board, the Bombers were driving in Archer territory. Coming to a fourth down and long, Sapp looked to pass. He couldn’t find an open man, so he took off, weaving back and forth across the field, breaking tackles in Herculean fashion and getting just enough yardage for a first down.
The next play he threw the ball right into the breadbasket of an Antwerp defender.
That’s how most of the night went for Edon, who made a lot of big plays, only to see them negated by errors and penalties. And there were a lot of penalties, too.
The Bombers racked up 12 penalties for 105 yards. Granted Antwerp also had 12 penalties for 123 yards, but most of those came from pass interference calls due to Bomber receivers routinely getting open. Edon’s penalties were mostly of the holding variety, as well as a personal foul.
Holding was a major issue for the Bombers throughout the game. It wiped out an incredible 20 yard touchdown run by Blake Thiel in which he took to the sidelines and broke what looked like a sure tackle to get into the endzone. Not only that, but It also wiped out a gutsy call by Edon Head Coach Scott Staton. Deep into their own territory, on fourth and thirteen, the Bombers ran a fake punt that saw Sapp rush for more than enough yardage for the first. A hold undid the play, and only served to put Edon in a deeper hole at fourth and 19.
The Bomber passing attack showed the potential to match its namesake, with sophomore Preston Kingler leading the team in receptions, making 4 catches for 55 yards and 2 touchdowns. Yet there were a lot of opportunities left on the field. There were a few drops early on by the Edon receivers, and a few of Sapp’s passes were just a bit off target, but that’s to be expected during the first game of the season. Also, there were a few communication issues between the quarterback and his receivers that will need to get worked out.
Defensively, the Bombers need to improve against the run. As a unit, the Edon defenders gave up 141 yards and 2 touchdowns on 40 attempts, despite the best efforts senior linebacker Luke Price, who was all over the field. The timing on which they gave up big plays was also demoralizing to the Bomber effort.
After a trick play which saw a pass fall just out of the reach of a diving Sapp’s fingertips, Antwerp took over at the Edon 39 yard line. The next play, the Archer’s senior fullback Nick Barnhouse took the ball 39 yards for a touchdown. Again, this is just how things went for the Bombers, whenever they made a mistake, Antwerp was there to capitalize.
The bottom line is that Edon had a real chance to win this game. They had more total offense, more first downs, and simply looked more athletic. Yet there is a lot of work to do if this team is going to cash in on its potential.
And they’d better work fast. Edgerton’s coming to town this week.