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Crawford County’s B.J. Mahoney (11) and Robert Schwartz break up a pass to Mitchell’s Cody Burton in the second half of the Wolfpack’s 7-0 loss to the Bluejackets. Photos by Wade Bell

Turnovers kill Crawford in 7-0 loss


September 21, 2011
Frustration beyond all recognition. That was the kind of night it was for the Crawford County Wolfpack football team Friday in a homecoming outing against visiting Mitchell. The Bluejackets only needed a single touchdown in their 7-0 win as Crawford County suffered a rash of turnovers while in scoring position.

"That was bad," Crawford County coach Alan Hess said. "To lose a game 7-0 and know you should have won by three or four touchdowns, pretty bad."

The first half was disastrous for the Wolfpack, who had four turnovers in the 24 minutes. The first one came early in the first quarter, after Corey Cain ran to the Mitchell 35-yard line; Crawford County, on the next play, lost the handle on the ball and Mitchell recovered. The Wolfpack fumbled again late in the period, this time on the Mitchell 25-yard line. The Bluejackets, however, failed to convert either Crawford County turnover into points.

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Crawford County’s Christ Schwartz intercepts this Mitchell pass in front of Luke King in the fourth quarter.
Crawford County had another chance to score in the second period when Mitchell fumbled in the backfield and the Wolfpack recovered on the Bluejackets' 8-yard line. Crawford County quarterback Christ Schwartz got sacked at the 12-yard line on the next play. Then, the Wolfpack fumbled again, with Mitchell's Ray Turner recovering the ball.

Mitchell still failed to convert the turnovers into scores. Both teams coughed up the ball near the end of the period and went into the half with a scoreless tie.

"We should have been up 28-0," Hess said. "Some of the mistakes we've been making since Aug. 1. We've either got to get better or get used to it. I'm not going to get used to this feeling."

Crawford County's biggest defensive play came midway through the third period. The Bluejackets had worked the ball to the Wolfpack 9-yard line. Crawford County's defensive line kept the Bluejackets out of the end zone on the next two plays. On fourth-and-goal on the 3-yard line, Crawford County held again and took the ball over on downs.

On their next possession, the Wolfpack worked the ball out to the 20-yard line after Schwartz threw to Justin Carlisle for a first down. Two plays later, however, Landon New intercepted a Schwartz pass and ran back to the 3-yard line. Cole Harbstreit ran into the end zone from there for the score and, following the extra-point kick, Mitchell had a 7-0 lead after three quarters.

Schwartz, who also plays defense, had two interceptions. On offense, however, the senior found himself on the wrong end of a pair of Mitchell sacks that pushed Crawford County back to fourth-and-28, forcing the Wolfpack to give up the ball.

Crawford County had one more chance late in the game following a time-out with 3:29 to go. On the next play, Carlisle broke loose for what appeared to be a 72-yard touchdown run. A yellow penalty flag went flying in the backfield, however, as the Wolfpack were called for holding, sending both the Crawford County sideline and fan section into a turmoil as the touchdown was called back.

The Wolfpack were later called for an unsportsmanlike penalty on fourth-and-33.

Crawford County's final offensive play of the night saw both Carlisle and Schwartz go down with injuries. Mitchell took a knee on its final two plays and escaped with its first Patoka Lake Athletic Conference win of the season.

"Six turnovers don't win football games," Hess said. "Three in the red zone."

Carlisle and Schwartz were examined by medical personnel at the field. Carlisle suffered a knee injury, while Schwartz was being examined for a possible concussion. Schwartz had taken several hard hits in the second half as the Mitchell defense continually broke through the Crawford County offensive line, something with which Hess was not happy.

"We couldn't have blocked a fifth-grade church team," he said. "We don't get off the ball. We're not moving … We can make all the excuses we want, but we don't have any heart. We don't have any tradition. We haven't changed anything since day one, and we've got to start picking it up."

Crawford County finished with just 43 yards of offense. The Wolfpack had only 2 rushing yards on 38 carries and 41 yards in the air on 5-of-10 passing that included one interception.

Hess said senior Austin Key will be back for Friday's game against Springs Valley, saying he expects the senior to give his team a big boost on the field.

"Tons, tons, tons," Hess said. "He's a good ball player, a good athlete. He's a leader. That will be big. He's got heart, and he's a leader on the team. The boys will be excited he's back. It will be good to have him."

Mitchell tallied 271 yards of offense, including 125 rushing yards on 45 carries and 146 yards on 2-of-10 passing with two interceptions.

"It's a matter of expecting to win and quit thinking we can't win because we're Crawford County," Hess said. "We can do it. I know they can do it. I've seen them do it. It's something that happens under the lights; it just doesn't go well for them."

The Crawford County coach said his team will keep working on the practice field.

"We ran 15 different plays all week and used them tonight and couldn't execute them," he said. "We've got to go harder in practice. Our young boys have got to give us a better look. You keep working. It's frustrating. It's disappointing. It's embarrassing … I'm embarrassed of the product we're giving back to Crawford County and the school and the student body. They deserve better. It's on me to get it turned around, and we will. It comes down to what's inside you."

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