Friday, September 19, 2014

KCAC tightens with OU, Friends losses

By The Herald Staff | 10/21/2013

STERLING — The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference football race just got jumbled up halfway through the season.

Losses by Friends and Ottawa put four teams at 4-1 in the KCAC. Sterling’s 30-18 win over Ottawa and Tabor’s 20-19 victory over Friends tightened everything up.

STERLING — The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference football race just got jumbled up halfway through the season.

Losses by Friends and Ottawa put four teams at 4-1 in the KCAC. Sterling’s 30-18 win over Ottawa and Tabor’s 20-19 victory over Friends tightened everything up.

Ottawa, Friends, Tabor and Sterling are tied for the lead.

The Braves have been in this situation in other years.

“We are still in the conference championship hunt,” Ottawa defensive coordinator Josh Homolka said. “We have games left. It is not over. We have to get back on track.”

It was one of those days Saturday for Ottawa when things did not go smoothly. Sterling has a way to make things tough on foes, especially on its home field.

“We deal with stuff like everybody else,” Homolka said. “When you play a team like them on homecoming, it is a tough game. They have it rolling and have a lot of confidence.  

“We have to go out and beat Southwestern. You have to lineup and play. We did not play very well on offense or defense.”

Ottawa had its worst game offensively all season with 330 yards and 18 points. The defense missed tackles as Sterling rushed for 332 yards and had 432 total yards.

“It was a total team loss,” Ottawa coach Kent Kessinger said. “They have to put this one behind them. The biggest thing we have to do is learn. Learn from the mistakes. We made plenty of them. It was us not executing. It was us not getting into the proper run fits. At times, we were not blocking well on offense.”

Ottawa’s tackling was below par. The Braves were usually in position, but did not wrap up the Sterling ball carrier.

“We had somebody hitting the guy,” Homolka said. “We missed 20 tackles. That is not something we usually do. We are usually better tacklers than that.”

The Ottawa defense played better in the second half with four three and outs.

“We tackled better and we rolled down a safety down and it helped us out,” Homolka said. “We have to get some things sealed up.”

Ottawa left points on the field in special teams with a missed field goal and two extra points.

“You never know when they will come up to be big factors,” Kessinger said. “Obviously it was at the end of this game.”

Ottawa’s running attack was held to 146 yards. The Braves were hurt with its lack of depth on the offensive line.

“The only thing we could not happen to us was one of our offense linemen go down,” Kessinger said. “We were playing with a back up at that point. We did not get as much push as I thought with our guys on the inside. They bottled us up.”

The passing game appeared to be out of kilter.

“We are not there right now in the passing game,” Kessinger said. “We have to find out what Mike [Behr] is comfortable with. We know he is comfortable running the football. We have to work on it. We really did not sit in the pocket and play pitch and catch.

“We have to be more patient. We are going to have some growing pains.”

Ottawa plays 1:30 p.m. Saturday at home against Southwestern.

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