The Cyclones couldn’t get much going offensively in their season opener Friday night.
DeSoto knocked off the Ottawa High School football team 30-8 at Steve Grogan Stadium.
“With very little experience, we thought we might have some growing pains, and I think it showed,” Rob Hedrick, OHS head football coach, said. “DeSoto is a very good team, top to bottom. They are able to platoon, and I think that showed conditioning-wise where they were a little more fresh in the second half.”
The Wildcats built up a sizeable lead heading into the second half. After Ottawa’s defense held them scoreless through a quarter and a half, DeSoto put up back-to-back touchdowns in less than a minute of game play. The second touchdown came on the ensuing play after Ottawa’s Kaleb Shaffer, senior quarterback, fumbled.
DeSoto tacked on another touchdown with 34 seconds left until the half to take a 20-0 lead.
Ottawa’s offense struggled to get first downs throughout the game, especially in the first half, due to DeSoto taking away the running game.
“I thought we’d be able to run the ball a little better than we did,” Hedrick said. “I really did. They just smothered us. There was nothing we could do. They had a good game plan, and they had some kids in some key positions that really beat us up a little bit.”
DeSoto put together a 55-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter to go up 27-0.
Ottawa got on the board when Shaffer connected with Shavion Bethea, sophomore wide receiver, on a 25-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. Devion Bethea, senior running back, passed to Shaffer for a successful two-point conversion.
All-in-all, Hedrick was proud of his team for their toughness in spite of the inexperience.
“The guys just battled and battled, and I’m so happy about that,” he said. “A lot of guys never came off the field, and they were dog tired. We’ll take a look a the film on some of the new guys, and give them some learning tools.”
Ottawa (0-1) is back home again 7 p.m. Friday against Wamego.
“We’ve been really good against non-league teams,” Hedrick said. “We’re protecting our home turf, and we’re playing for league pride. I told the guys that it is about getting better every week. When you have this many new guys learning about what Friday nights are all about, you can’t go too fast. You have to take little strides every week, and play so you are peaking at the right time.”