Special teams mistakes plague Barnesville
CALDWELL – A textbook definition of Murphy’s Law was on display at the Noble County Fairgrounds on Friday night.
And unfortunately for visiting Barnesville, that definition came at the Shamrocks’ expense.
The visiting crowd watched in silence as Caldwell ballooned its narrow 14-7 halftime lead to a 35-point cushion in less than 12 minutes.
Anything that could have gone wrong for Matt Johnson’s club did.
“We just couldn’t field the ball,” said Barnesville coach Matt Johnson as his team fell to 1-5. “We knew it was coming, but we didn’t fall on the ball and let it get away from us.”
In the second quarter, an 8-yard touchdown run from Dylan Burkhart put the Shamrocks to within a touchdown of Caldwell before the half.
Barnesville’s defense had started playing well the previous few series and fans in attendance were settled into what many likely felt was to be a competitive first half.
The first signs something was amiss occurred on the Redskins first series in the third.
On 2nd-and-10 from the Barnesville 43, Caldwell’s Bricker Lori took a sweep right. Seeing he had little room to move, he reversed field, ran completely across to near the visitor’s sideline and cut up, racing untouched to the end zone. What should have been a play for loss yardage resulted in a touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, a solid hit from a ‘Skins defender forced a fumble, setting up the home team with great field position.
Eight plays later, quarterback Tanner Clark danced into the end zone from 24 yards out on a 4th-and-7 call.
An onside kick followed and again, the Redskins recovered.
Barnesville forced a three-and-out but nearly fumbled away the punt when a Barnesville player touched a ball that was about to be downed and had to fall on it in a rush.
The Shamrocks were forced to punt and Caldwell took advantage as a 9-yard connection from Clark to Tanner Baker capped the drive.
Another short kickoff followed and, for the third time in the quarter, Barnesville fumbled away the ball.
This time, it took Caldwell two plays to score as Clark found John Carpenter from 20 yards out for the game’s final score with 57 seconds left to play.
In a little more than 11 minutes, Barnesville went from being down a score to down 35 points.
Early, Barnesville was plagued by mistakes. Two drives that had looked promising ended prematurely as a direct result of penalties. On defense, what appeared to be an assured major loss when Clark had a shotgun snap sail over his head resulted in a near 20-yard run and a first down.
It was that kind of a night for Johnson’s young team.
“We’re the type of team we have to stay consistent and can’t have those mental mistakes,” Johnson said. “When we’re moving the ball and get penalties, it’s hard to recover.”
Burkhart led Barnesville with 99 yards and the one touchdown.
Caldwell, meanwhile, was spearheaded by Lori and Clark, who totaled 130 and 145 yards on the ground respectively.