With those words, Wooster High football coach Doug Haas was looking ahead. The reality was that was all he could do following a disappointing loss for the Generals Friday/Saturday at Mansfield Madison.
Lightning postponed the Ohio Cardinal Conference showdown Sept. 21 with just 2:17 to play and the game knotted at 42-all. When it resumed the following day at noon the Rams took only three plays to forge ahead on a 34-yard run by Kale Huss to clinch the Rams’ 49-42 victory.
Huss hustled the Generals throughout the game, finishing with 309 yards on 32 carries. The run worked so well for the Rams they never attempted a pass, finishing with 550 yards on an incredible 62 rushing attempts as they erased a 35-21 Wooster lead late in the third quarter.
“I hope we are demonstrating progress,” said Haas, who watched his team drop to 1-4 and 0-2 in the OCC. “I know it hasn’t shown up in the won-loss column, but I feel we are getting better in the big picture. The progress we’re making is good and positive, but for a senior who has only five games left, that’s tough. I feel the worst for the kids. They are working hard, had a great week of practice and had nothing to show for it. That’s the hard part to sell them on, I guess.”
Certainly the hard part for the Generals was putting a lid on a Rams’ running game that averaged 8.8 yards a carry and it would be hard to argue that it wasn’t “a line of scrimmage thing,” as Haas noted.
“That was never more true Friday against a good, physical running team,” he said. “We’ve been in a position where we’ve gone up two scores two weeks in a row and failed to generate a first down two series in a row and then we’re back tied up. We have to create a better running game and a better run defense in order to weather the opposition’s storm.
“We have to right the ship and get a strong showing at home against a good Clear Fork team.”
The Generals had another strong offensive showing, getting 244 passing yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Cam Daugherty (16-27-2) and piling up 169 yards rushing, with that anchored by 135 yards and two scores from Mason Tomblin (14 carries). After trailing 21-14 at halftime, Daugherty hooked up with wideout Darrian Owens for scores of 70 and 66 yards in the second half, the final score tying the game with four minutes left to play.
“The good thing was there was some intestinal fortitude … and we had some balance (offensively)” said Haas. “We were able to throw some punches back and forth. We had two special-teams turnovers and our coverage units are getting better. Cam is getting better … and his leadership level is rising. Mason Tomblin – the way he ran the ball on a slick field was a surprise and Darrian Owens is proving to be the playmaker we thought he could be. Those are the easy things to measure.
“Our practice habits are getting better and now we need to get better. We’ve regressed from a defensive standpoint, so I have to look at what I am doing and reteach from where we were in the Wadsworth game.”
In one sense the Generals’ task will be a bit easier in terms of preparation for Clear Fork. Although worrisome in one sense given Wooster’s inability to stop Madison’s run, the Generals will see a ground-oriented attack from the Colts.
“We were teaching two different things going from Ashland to Madison, so it’s nice not to have to (radically) alter the game plan,” said Haas. “We can piggyback some of the things we worked on last week. But, as a defensive unit, we have to take that (49-42) loss personally and be ready to answer the call with a defensive stand.
“When you score 42 points, you ought to win.”
Published: September 27, 2012