Potters Open Asher Era With Win

20-14 was the final score over rival Beaver Local at Fighting Beaver Stadium.  The Potters controlled field position most of the game starting with a failed onside kick attempt by the Beavers to open the season.  The first drive stalled after a procedure penalty against the Potters (a recurring theme) and resulted in a missed field goal, but Beaver Local had to punt and the Potters took the ball right down the field for a touchdown.  A fumble on the next drive gave Beaver Local a short field that they converted into a TD to lead 7-6, but the Potters were able to drive the ball down the field before halftime and scored with 50 seconds left to lead 12-7 at halftime.  To open the 2nd half Beaver Local fumbled and the Potters moved the ball before a 3rd and long interception at the 8 yard line.  However, the Big Blue Wrecking Crew forced a -4 yard 3 and out possession and the Potters got great field position off the punt and scored to go up 20-7.  Beaver Local did hit a big pass play in the middle of the 4th quarter to score and make in 20-14 and got the ball back late but weren’t able to move the ball very far before a turnover on downs and the Potters ran the clock out.

The Potters are far from a polished and finished product but there was a lot to give a fan hope that things are moving back in the right direction.  I thought the line play was solid on both sides of the ball, save several procedure penalties on offense, but that is correctable.  The running backs had holes and the defensive line made several great plays to stuff Beaver Local.  The Potters showed a varied and multi-dimensional running game with Willie Leavell, Preston Foster, Marky Thompkins (at quarterback) and others getting productive carries.  They ran it up the middle, they ran it wide, they ran counters, they ran draws, they ran options.  The passing game OTOH is a work in progress as Thompkins looked a bit rough delivering the ball.  But he had one nice downfield pass to Andrew English to convert a key 3rd down (English did a great job hanging onto the ball while a Beaver defender was undercutting him) and with practice and experience (Thompkins only being a sophomore) that part of the game should get smoother and make the Potter offense more dangerous.  They’ll need to work on consistency as several drives were stalled by false start or illegal motion penalties, guys getting anxious type things.  But once the play started they were clean except for one roughing penalty that I thought was a bit borderline, unlike the McNicol era when you could pretty much count on at least 2 egg-headed late hit fouls a game at least.  Conversion attempts are another worry as the Potters kicker didn’t get either the field goal or the extra point elevated at all, no chance at success, forcing them to go for 2 after the last couple scores.  And, quite frankly, there are teams on the schedule that will test this team more than Beaver Local, who looked rather ordinary.  But it was a good and promising start.

Speaking of Beaver Local, how much patience did those great teams earlier this decade buy head coach Rich Wright from his fans?  I thought he made several tactical blunders in this game.  I have no idea what he was doing at the end of the 1st half after the Potters scored with 50 seconds left they got the ball at the minus 28 with 3 timeouts and the Potters having 1.  Beaver Local has little in a passing game, so I thought he might run the clock out, or perhaps take one shot downfield and then run the clock out if it didn’t work.  And, it appeared they were running it out, but then he called timeout on 3rd & 1 with 13 seconds left.  Why?  If that play gets stuffed the Potters could call their timeout and force the 4th down play.  As it is they converted on the qb sneak and then called another timeout with 6 seconds left the ball near midfield.  To throw a hail mary you figure?  No, to run the ball for 6 yards again as the half ends.  But more substantial was at the end of the game, facing a 4th & 9 with about 90 seconds left having all 3 timeouts (running clock).  He needs to call timeout right away, this is their last realistic chance at winning.  And, if the play fails the Potters have 85 seconds to kill and he has two timeouts.  No, he lets the clock dwindle to about 1 minute even .  . .  and then calls his timeout.  So now after the play fails the Potters only have to kill about 50 seconds against 2 timeouts.  As it is the Potters got a 1st down, but even if they didn’t the 4th down play was going to be with little or no time left (3rd down play ended with 36 seconds on the clock so highly questionable if the ref would’ve even made the ball ready for play above or below 25 seconds).  Also, the offense showed very little imagination even though, as a couple plays in the 4th quarter most noteably their 2nd touchdown shows, they are physically capable of completing forward passes.  But he’s the winningest coach in Beaver Local history so he probably has some leeway.

Anyhow, the Potters are 1-0 and will next contest the Battle of the Bridge on September 4th at Oak Glen, 7:30pm kickoff.

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