Glasgow Stumbles, Playoffs Still In Sight
BY J. LEVI BURNFIN COURIER SPORTS
Published: Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
In a battle for District 2B supremacy, the Malta Mustangs showed they are still the team to beat in 2B, and perhaps Class B, with a 52-0 win over Glasgow on Friday in Malta.
“We just did not execute and play fundamental football. They’re a better team. They showed up and played at a higher level than we did,” said Head Coach Greg Liebelt. “We weren’t focused like we should have been.”
Malta came out firing on the very first drive of the game. They used a balanced attack to go 70 yards and score a touchdown on running back Reid Robinson’s 5-yard run. The Mustangs went for a two-point conversion and were successful to make it 8-0 early.
The Scotties tried to answer with their first drive. On the very first play, the run-heavy Scotties caught the Malta secondary napping and had a wide receiver wide open down the left sideline. Quarterback Lane Herbert found the open receiver and heaved it for a would-be touchdown. Alas, the ball was just a couple of feet overthrown and the Scotties missed out on the big-play chance.
After a few more plays, the Scotties threw an interception and Malta’s high-powered offense was back on the field. And so it went for the Scotties for the rest of the night. It was missed chance after missed chance on both sides of the ball.
The Scotties failed to connect on another would-be touchdown pass in the second quarter when Herbert just missed running back Jon Koessl on a wheel route with no Malta defenders within 20 yards.
The Scottie defense had their own chances to stem the Malta onslaught. The Scotties forced several sacks throughout the game and pushed the Malta offense into very long down and distances. But it seemed that every time Malta was pushed back, they would connect on a long throw to get another first down.
In one instance, the Scotties had the Mustangs in 2nd-and-29. But on the very next play, Malta connected for a 45-yard pass.
It would be disingenuous to think the ultimate result would have been different if the Scotties had converted on some of their chances, but the score would have been much closer.
Instead, Malta got out to a big lead by scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions and cruising to the win.
“We made a lot of errors and were never able to get anything going on offense,” said Liebelt.
In an attempt to “get a different flow,” they brought in sophomore Chase Fossum at quarterback late in the the second quarter.
“We weren’t getting the results we were hoping to on offense and we thought ‘let’s give Chase a chance,’” said Liebelt.
Unfortunately, the Scottie offense continued to stall.
“It was not anymore [Herbert’s] fault more than anybody else,” said Liebelt. “We struggled across the board. And once we started to get frustrated, we became sloppy and it really created problems for us.”
Many teams have felt frustrated against Malta this season. The win brought Malta to 6-0 on the season and 3-0 in conference for a commanding district lead with only a game against 1-5 Wolf Point left to play in district. The Mustangs also have a non-conference game against District 1B favorite Choteau on Friday.
The loss dropped Glasgow to 4-2 overall, 1-1 in conference and in a win-or-else situation with two games remaining. The Scotties first travel to Wolf Point on Friday to take on the Wolves (1-5, 1-1). The Wolves’ lone win was over Harlem on Friday, Oct. 5.
If the Scotties are able to regroup after the Malta loss and beat the Wolves, that will set up a winner-take-all game with Plentywood (2-4, 1-1) on Oct. 19 for the second playoff spot in 2B. Plentywood takes on Harlem Friday. Plentywood should be able to win that game and increase their conference record to 2-1.
But regrouping after such a disappointing loss will not be necessarily easy for the Scotties. Lane is still the unquestioned starting quarterback of this team and a lot of the load will fall on him and other leaders on the team to keep their teammates driven and focused on the goal.
Malta was always going to be a big challenge. The goal now is, and has been, to make the playoffs. The Scotties should be highly favored in their two remaining games, but if they don’t play hard, both the Wolves and the Wildcats will be more than happy to dash the Scotties’ playoff hopes.
“Now we have something to prove again,” said Liebelt.
They’ll have to provide that proof by earning wins over Wolf Point and Plentywood in the next two weeks.
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