By MATT NYE
The Review Times
BASCOM — Hopewell-Loudon’s Chieftains knew they’d face a difficult challenge against quarterback Tyler Long and Tiffin Calvert in last Friday night’s season opener.
The loss to the Senecas then revealed some flaws and cracks that the Chieftains need to be fill quickly.
Hopewell-Loudon stayed close early in the game but fell 41-16. Long, Calvert’s quarterback, accounted for five touchdowns. It wasn’t that the Chieftains struggled with tackling technique; rather, trying to tackle him the whole game took a toll.
“There is no shame in losing to a really good football team and a superior athlete,” Chieftains coach Jeremy Nutter said. “What is disappointing is that we didn’t do what we were taught to do or what we had to do to be in that football game. We didn’t do many fundamental things right, and this can happen with teenagers. They get so excited about the game and they let the game come to them instead of attacking it with fundamentals. We have addressed it and we will try to get better because of it.”
The Chieftains are now refocusing on this Friday’s trip to Elmwood for a 7 p.m. nonconference game.
“After a Week 1 loss like that, it could shake our team’s confidence,” Nutter said. “However, we are a way-too-talented team to let that happen to us again this year. I think our team knows we have a lot of good football players out on that field. When we can play faster and more fundamental, you will see the difference it makes and they realize that. We will be OK.”
Elmwood is coming off of a close 37-30 Week 1 road loss to Gibsonburg in which the Royals started to get things moving late in the contest.
“The seven-point loss stings a little bit, but we did respond when we were down 37-14 with just 8 minutes left,” Elmwood coach Brian Cooper said. “One more possession could’ve changed things in that game, and it was a good game for our young kids to compete in and grow. The end gave us some confidence that can really carry over to this week.
“We need to take care of the ball this week, stay balanced and just get the ball in our playmakers’ hands to make plays for us.” he said.
The Royals’ offensive backfield will have sophomore Noah Baker at quarterback, junior Dylan Hall at halfback and sophomore Austin Jasso at fullback. Seniors Keyon Camden and Trevor Robbins will be the wide receivers, with senior Brandon Palmer at the tight end. The offensive line will have senior Thomas Wagler and junior Rob Bentley at the tackles, sophomore Ryan Krouse and senior Devin Uzelac at the guards and sophomore Kyle Dibling at center.
Last week’s 37 points allowed to Gibsonburg were too many for Cooper’s liking.
“We need to stop teams from scoring so many points,” he said. “Now that we are able to score a lot, we have to stop our opponents so we can win some games.”
The Elmwood defense will have Palmer and Uzelac at the ends and sophomore Griffin Sperry and junior Kieran Adamski at the tackles. The inside linebackers will be junior Noah Smith and senior Dylan Benschoter, while Hall and freshman Dylan Hinton will be the outside linebackers. The secondary will consist of freshman Christian Aldaco and sophomore Jace Grossman at the cornerbacks and Camden at safety.
Nutter is hoping to see his team’s offense pick up the pace against Elmwood.
“Hopefully we can settle in to who we are … it’s not about them, it’s about us and how good we can be,” Nutter said. “We need to get better together.”
The Hopewell-Loudon offense will include be senior Derek Runion at quarterback and senior Anson Tran at running back. The receivers will be are seniors Ryan Lommerse and Braden Park and juniors Logan Tyree and Austin Tooker. The tackles will be junior LRay Burns and sophomore Tristan Molotla, while the guards will be senior Adam Bour and Matt Huth and the center will be senior Christian Potteiger.
The Chieftains don’t have Long to try to tackle this week, but the tricky Elmwood offense will pose a threat.
“They are a veer option football team, which means we need to be really disciplined this week,” Nutter said. “We’ve talked a lot about how everybody needs to do their own job and if you can do it that way, it can be defended. But if you try to do more, it can hurt you and we can see that on film.”
The Chieftains defense will have Burns and Tyree at the ends and Potteiger and Tran at the tackles. Huth and junior Eli Bustillos will be the inside linebackers. The outside linebackers will be Lommerse and junior Noah Breidenbach. The secondary will consist of Park and senior Trenton Burns at the cornerbacks and Tooker at safety.
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