BB King could have had a monster blues hit on his hands had he watched the West Holmes Knights struggles to get the ball in the end zone after they reach the red zone.
The Knights opened Ohio Cardinal Conference play Friday, Sept. 16 on the road at Community Stadium in Ashland.
The Arrows (2-2) were not the best of hosts, dropping West Holmes 35-7 to send the Knights to their fourth straight loss to begin the season.
The first possession of the game turned out to be a precursor of things to come as West Holmes found ways to put together some nice drives, only to see them come up short of paying off.
West Holmes drove smoothly down the field on the opening drive, reaching Ashland’s 11-yard line. However, a big Arrows sack forced the Knights to attempt a field goal, and Ashland promptly blocked it and returned it deep into Knights territory, where they quickly pushed across a TD for a 7-0 lead.
Ashland patiently picked away at West Holmes, scoring again in the second quarter, but Cale Ogi finally provided some spark for the Knights, squirting through the Arrows defensive line and scampering 49 yards to make it 14-7.
Ashland would score again before the half to make it 21-7, and although West Holmes would work its way into the red zone several times throughout the game, the Knights could not punch in a score, as the Arrows defense simply would not break.
“It’s frustrating,” said West Holmes coach Ron Hay. “We continue to get into the red zone and can’t find ways to punch it in. We are averaging 340 yards of offense per game, yet when we get close to the end zone we seem to come unglued and fall apart, and I am not quite sure how to pinpoint the cause.”
While the West Holmes offensive line created some nice running lanes for the West Holmes running game, the Knights had trouble punching it into the end zone again, scoring just seven points for the third consecutive game after a solid effort in week one versus the Triway Titans.
Running mates Garrett Ervin and Cale Ogi were the offensive leaders, racking up 126 and 125 yards rushing, respectively. Young Bridger Cline emerged in the second half under center and collected 79 passing yards as well, but the Knights found it hard to cross the goal line again.
Perhaps summed up the game perfectly. West Holmes found itself on the 1-yard line as time ticked away. With the Knights starting offense facing Ashland’s second team defense, West Holmes could not find that elusive one yard, and left the game with the ball sitting on the one.
“We’ve simply got to get more efficient at putting the ball in the end zone when we get a chance,” said Hay. “It feels like we just need to have something positive happen that helps us build up some confidence. It seems like so often we have something bad happen at a crucial time, and that takes us out of the game mentally. It isn’t just on offense either. We have been putting teams in third-and-long situations and can’t make a play, and then we hang our heads. We have to learn to stay positive, because usually one play isn’t going to win or lose a game”
On the night, West Holmes collected a total of 279 yards on the ground and 102 through the air for at total of 381 total offensive yards.
The Knights will play host to Madison in week five at Knights Stadium, while also celebrating homecoming for 2016.
Hay believes in his team, and feels like that game could be pivotal in putting an end to the current 13-game losing streak the Knights are in.
“We’ll keep working and continue to try to keep things positive and look at the good things we have done, “said Hay. “I think if we can make a couple of key plays, win one game and start putting the ball in the end zone we will be okay. If we find the end zone on our first drive in this game, it becomes a different mind-set altogether. It just feels like we need a good break at a crucial time, and right now we can’t seem to catch that break.”