Turnovers costly for Tigers
By Jay Davis
Putting the ball on the grass at inopportune times doomed the Tigers as they dropped the season-opening game 34-13 to Linton-HMB in Linton on Friday.
“Turnovers, that was the key,” said coach Nathan Lamb. “We let them off the hook.”
The misplays started early. The Tigers took the opening drive and went straight down the field. After three first downs they were in scoring position when the first fumble ended the drive.
Linton-HMB took off on a long drive of its own. The Lions went on a 13-play drive and took a 6-0 lead with 11:08 left in the second quarter when Brooks Flyberg hit Ryan Schneider on a nine-yard touchdown pass.
On the second play of their second drive, the Tigers put the ball on the ground again. The Lions responded by going 12 yards in two plays with Rylan Jacob scoring on a five-yard run.
Two possessions later, the Tigers struck with a big play. With the Tigers facing second and 12 at the 14, Austin Borah took matters into his own hands. Borah shook off a hit at the line of scrimmage, made his way outside, cut back in again and raced 86 yard for the Tiger’s first touchdown of the season. The Chase Schoenhard ensuing kick cut the deficit to 12-7.
“We got a good double team,” said Lamb. “When Borah got to the second level, he cut inside and they didn’t have a prayer.”
The second half started with the teams exchanging punts until it was Linton-HMB’s turn to turn the ball over.
Schoenhard recovered the Lion fumble at the 15-yard-line.
Four plays later, Mason Keller found Noah Chase open in the end zone and put a bullet pass between the defenders and right on the numbers for the go-ahead touchdown.
“We called a bootleg for Keller,” said Lamb. “He threw a laser in there and Chase made a nice catch.”
The Tiger defense held and forced a Linton-HMB punt. The ensuing result was the beginning of the end.
“Just when we would get something going, something would happen again,” said Lamb.
The Tigers muffed the punt and the Lions recovered on the 30. Four plays later, Flyberg took the ball over the goal line. With 8:28 to play Linton-HMB had recaptured the lead at 20-13.
The next two Tiger possessions were a three-and-out and an interception. The next two Lion possessions were touchdowns as the home team went on to turn a close contest into a 21-point win.
A big player on Linton-HMB’s last three drives was fullback Mike Oien, who finished the game with 101 yards and scored the final touchdown.
“We got stuck in a bad spot and they gave the ball to that huge fullback,” said Lamb. “We didn’t tackle him very well.”
While Borah had 130 yards rushing, the Tigers finished with just 147 for the game and had just two first downs after the opening possession.
Lamb said the team will take advantage of the bye week to improve a lot of the aspects of their game.
“A lot of it was technique things,” said Lamb. “We did a lot of things right, we just didn’t do them long enough. They are fixable things.”
With the bye week, the Tigers do not have a game this Friday. The home opener will be Sept. 13, when the Tigers host Groton Area in the annual Homecoming game.
Mobridge-Pollock (0-1) 0 7 6 0- 13
Linton-HMB (1-0) 0 12 0 22- 34
LHMB- Ryan Schneider 9 pass from Brooks Flyberg (conversion failed)
LHMB- Rylan Jacob five run (conversion failed)
MP- Austin Borah 86 run (Chase Schoenhard kick)
MP- Noah Chase 7 pass from Mason Keller (kick failed)
LHMB- Flyberg 1 run (conversion good)
LHMB- Jordan Gross 19 pass from Flyberg (conversion failed)
LHMB- Mike Oien 19 run (conversion good)
Mobridge-Pollock: Rushing 24-147 (Borah 12-130, Conner Stoick 5-11, Keller 6-4, Joseph Avalos 2-2); Passing (Keller 4-16-1-34); Receiving (Stoick 2-16, Ethan Kettering 1-11, Chase 1-7); 5 first downs; 4 turnovers. Defense: Jordan Feist 8 tackles, Brett Lang 6.5 tackles, Chase 6 tackles, Borah 5.5 tackles, David Jensen 4 tackles, two sacks, Schoenhard 3 tackles, fumble recovery.
Linton-HMB: Rushing 42-183 (Oien 11-101, Rylan Jacob 13-65); Passing (Flyberg 3-11-0-32); Receiving (Gross 2-23, Schneider 1-9); 12 first downs; 1 turnover. Defense: Al Gefroh 10 tackles, Chase Jacob 5 tackles, Austin Bernhardt 5 tackles.