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Football Spartans (eventually) Declaw Tigers

Posted on: September 7, 2021
Keenan Alcalde with the carry

Turpin Offense breaks Tiger Defense

Every good football team normally endures an ego check game at some point. The previous week’s impressive road win up north apparently inflated some Spartan helmets this week, and the Loveland Tigers emptied their yellow transport cages with hungry eyes focused on pretentious fresh meat. After a startling 1st half and then staring down a 3rd quarter, two-score deficit, the Spartan coaches stayed towards the front of the playbook and fed the Tigers plenty of smash mouth football. The Turpin defense stepped up at critical times and finally figured out how to harness the Tigers, escaping Spartan Stadium with a 38-34 win and improving Turpin to 3-0 on the young season.

Even my Anderson HS Theatre son could easily focus the spotlight love this week, as Senior running back Keenan Acalde piled up 246 rushing yards and flexed in the endzone after all 5 of his rushing touchdowns. Loyal readers hopefully recognize by now that nothing works unless the linemen do, and how about those Obeastie Boyz upfront? Tackles Jack Plattner/Darik Lindh, guards Cam Hull/Nathan Haines, and center Mitchell Knarr controlled the Loveland box better than even the Tiger King could have himself. Senior wideout Louie Birk enjoyed a varsity breakout game by grabbing 6 catches for 116 yards, while he and tight end Jake Fontaine each made highlight reel catches late in the game to move the chains and keep do-or-die drives alive for the Spartans. 

Unfortunately, the Spartan defense faced a double-edged saber tooth entering Friday’s game. Loveland head coach (and former Spartan) Andy Cruse returned home to Bartels Road wanting nothing more than to upset his alma mater in front of his colleague (and former Turpin AD), Eric Frey. Calling plays with nothing to lose means more risk-taking, and the Tiger offense repeatedly extended the field with some quick-strike, big play touchdowns. Somewhat battered but never broken, the Spartan shield tightened the leash with game-changing plays at the most opportune times. Senior safety Drew Covington shut down a late first half Loveland drive with a momentum-crushing interception. Defensive end Cody Hurst pressured Tiger quarterback Luca Aquilino into an intentional-grounding business decision from within the paint, which recorded Turpin’s first safety on the season. Ben Cushman also bull-rushed through the line and blocked a late Loveland PAT attempt. And then, the entire defensive unit answered the challenge late with a house lock-down, goal line stand that finally crushed the hearts of the Loveland faithful for good.

 

McCullough’s 2 Minute Drill:

What were your 2-3 positive takeaways this week?

Coach McCullough: You learn so much about your team when you are in a tough, close game.  The boys continued to battle and never lost focus of winning the game.  That says a lot about the character and their resiliency of this team.  I was very proud that we stayed focused when things weren't going our way.  We worked very hard to get the momentum back on our side and that ultimately was the difference in the game.

 

What did Loveland do so well to break all their big plays?

Coach McCullough: They took advantage of some matchups that were not in our favor.  Also, we had some confusion and poor communication that was exposed.  Going into the game, I was worried about Loveland's skill players and quarterback.  They are a very talented group that will cause problems to a lot of teams in the ECC this season.

 

What is the most important way the Spartans need to get better for Milford next week?

Coach McCullough: We need to have a great week of practice.  We have to continue to take care of the ball and create explosive plays on offense and the defense needs to get back to playing the football that we know how to.  Also, I want special teams to step up.  It's a third of the game that we have always taken great pride in.  We need to focus on ourselves because when we do that, we are very good.      

 

Ego adjustments should now be complete, and the coaches will likely pepper in some additional “awareness training” this week to drive home the lesson. Unfortunately, the ECC schedule includes no cupcakes, as the 2-1 Milford Eagles await your football Spartans this week after successfully cracking the Walnut on the road last Friday, 34-8. The Eagles’ Nest always serves as a hostile environment for visiting foes who travel up state route 131.

 

Kickoff is the normal 7pm, and great seats are still available on all major ticket outlet apps and websites.

Nothing works unless the linemen do and Go Spartans!