Mistakes catch up to Blazers in shutout loss at new St. Joe field
Posted: 09/08/2012 at 1:15 am
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Central’s Larry Gates catches a long pass over South Bend St. Joseph defender Casey Coleman on Friday night. St. Joseph opened its new field with a 35-0 victory over the Blazers.
Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen
SOUTH BEND — New stadium. New colors.
New helmets and uniforms.
But it was vintage South Bend Saint Joseph.
The only thing missing as the Indians opened up Father Bly Field at Leighton Stadium Friday night was the apostrophe and an “s.”
Other than that, it was same ol’, same ol’.
St. Joe rocked and rolled a frustrated Central club in a 35-0 whipping. The score may have been surprising, but Blazer coach Levon Johnson could see this coming.
“When you have three weeks when you make mistakes and you win, well you think we can come back from this ... we can do this,” Johnson said after a night of soaking up two hours of light rain.
“All of a sudden when you have a loss on you like this. Then we better be a heckuva lot more efficient and smarter in the way we play.”
Central, which passed and ran all over struggling teams like Memorial, Goshen and Washington, ran into a defensive buzz-saw — at least in the passing game.
The Indians pestered Central receivers all night, allowing quarterback Nick Faus to connect on just 7-of-21 throws for a woeful 89 yards and just two first downs.
But there was more.
A botched field goal try.
Three interceptions, including one for a St. Joe TD and another in the Indian end zone.
Catching a punt inside the 5.
Red zone penalties.
Not covering the punter on a fourth-and-10, allowing a lean, slow-footed Oliver Page to drag two tacklers for the last five yards of an 11-yard gain.
Not a good trend.
“It’s frustrating when you know what you’re capable of,” Johnson said. “They never let us get comfortable with anything we were doing. We try to dictate to the defense with our offense, but they did great job of dictating to our offense.”
“The entire coaching staff came up with a good game plan, we implemented it well all week and the players mastered it and carried it out,” said St. Joe coach Ben Downey.
It was a great night — for the Indians and their fans, that is — as they opened up their new turf field and Father Bly Field at Leighton Stadium. It’s a magnificent venue.
Central hoped to catch St. Joe in the aura of its new digs and punch the Indians in the mouth right off the bat.
It never happened.
Instead, St. Joe peppered the Blazers with a blanket coverages in the secondary and, offensively, formed a perfect mix of passing and running.
Add in the Central mistakes and it was the perfect recipe for a Blazer loss.
“We can’t be so loose and complacent,” Johnson said. “I’ve had the same message after every game, but the previous three games we won.
“You can see it coming. If you don’t get it cleaned up, it’s coming. That train’s coming down the tracks and we’re standing on it.”
The spotlight has shined brightly on the Blazers for three weeks. On Friday, that same light revealed things Central needs to correct right away.
Bill Beck is The Truth sports editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.