DAYTON — The football gods seemed to be pouring it on when Tongue River freshman quarterback Will Kearns left the field last week with what could have been a serious injury.
Luckily, Kerns has been able to practice this week. Take that as a positive for a team that fell 35-0 in their opener to Rocky Mountain Friday — not many teams enter the season expecting to use a third-string QB, head coach John Scott pointed out after the loss. Senior starter at QB Matt Yellowtail returns next week, and Pierce Jardine coming back to the line this week.
But as they enter Friday facing the longest losing streak in team history (last week’s loss tied the 14-straight losses from 07-09, according to wyoming-football.com), Scott admitted that the approach is still the same.
“Sounds like an old story, but we must continue to progress fundamentally and preparing for Wheatland is no different,” he said. “We had the chance to stay in the game with Rocky Mountain, but it came down to one-on-one opportunities where we came up short due to tackling or blocking fundamentals and some undisciplined penalties.”
He said he and his coaching staff continue to push fundamentals, but that forces them to sacrifice things like schemes.
“Wheatland poses some problems in that they combine an athletic core of skill players and a solid line, which enables them to spread defenses out,” he said. “In space is where we have a majority of our difficulties in relation to tackling and defending.”
He admitted that a number of their starters are still making the transition from middle school football to the high school game.
Defensively, he said Wheatland appears to be physical up front, and it will be important that they hold their blocks, saying “I’m not asking for pancakes.”
“We just have to limit the hits he takes,” Scott said of protecting Kerns.
Senior Matt Burchell is expected to return to the line next week.
Friday’s game is set for 3 p.m. in Dayton.