SHERIDAN — The ol’ lips were hanging a little bit low Friday night after the Tongue River Eagles’ 35-0 loss to Rocky Mountain on their home field in Dayton, head coach John Scott said.
“Everybody goes into a brand new season with optimism, but it seems we haven’t quite found our blueprint for success yet,” Scott said. The Eagles were 0-9 last year. “But we definitely know we can fall into the wrong blueprint, so to speak, so we have to maintain a higher level of execution because once something seems to go south, it really piles up quick.”
The Eagles were battling every kind of injury bug early in the year, Scott said, that took out three key veteran players.
Senior quarterback Matt Yellowtail will be out for another week, and senior Matt Burchell and junior Pierce Jardine, a two-way starter, were also out.
Freshmen quarterback Will Kerns was looking strong but got beat up in the fourth quarter, leaving Scott wondering what the team will do next week with its two quarterbacks likely to be on the bench.
“We’ll have to find a different way to get it done,” Scott said. “You don’t really go into a season looking at who’s my number three?”
Scott said the team did some things well that weren’t going to show up on the scoreboard with such a young squad.
Linebacker Tyler Cane had a strong game defensively, likely from putting in time and making a commitment in the off season, Scott said. Lane Dockery, Jr., also picked up the slack, kicking, punting, acting as running back and moving up to linebacker.
“He was a Jack of all trades. He had a strong game,” Scott said.
Still, it wasn’t quite enough when the team gave up some really big plays, with several turnovers on top of that.
“We can’t stop the bleeding when it comes in bunches,” Scott said.
Scott noted that the team will be working on the fundamentals this next week, and he’s confident things will start to look up.
“We’re going to get there. I don’t know when, but at this point, the scoreboard is insignificant,” Scott said. “We have to hang together, and not lose the fight, and not give in because that will take these kids further in life than they’ll ever know.”