SHERIDAN — Tongue River High School football fell to Upton-Sundance 38-0 Friday night, losing for the second week in a row.
Tongue River head coach Steve Hanson said there were some bright spots, but there is still plenty to work on for the Eagles.
At times Tongue River was able to move the ball and open up some big plays. The interior run game was the most efficient part of the offense, Hanson said Upton-Sundance did a good job shutting down the outside run, forcing the Eagles to run up the middle. Hanson said fullback Tony Perfetti and Cashe Van Tassel had a great night rushing the ball.
At times the passing was working for the Eagles, especially the boot passes. Hanson said that each game different areas of the offense have worked well, the goal moving forward is to connect each piece of the offense and have better consistency overall.
For the past two weeks, the Eagles have not been able to finish drives, Hanson said. He suggested the team could open its playbook a little more to try something different in the red zone.
The offense did have its shares of struggles on the night with multiple three and outs and a few turnovers, including an interception in the endzone on fourth down.
The defense had its ups and downs also, Hanson said. For the most part, the Eagles were physical in the box and contained the inside run game by Upton-Sundance. This past week of practice was the most the Eagles practiced live tackling, helping with the physicality against Upton-Sundance.
The Eagles were also able to force two turnovers in the game, something Hanson said he is always pleased to see. There were a few big plays from Upton-Sundance, that helped widen the gap. Tongue River turnovers and a blocked punt also helped set up the success for Upton-Sundance.
Tongue River trailed at halftime 20-0 and Hanson said the Score felt closer than it really was. He was impressed by the effort the Eagles played with and knows there is more to be done.
Hanson said once the coaches watch the film from the game, they can better evaluate the team’s performance and what needs to be addressed. Hanson said there are still some players he wants to push, believing they can produce more for the team.
Tongue River has now lost two in a row, but the season is not over. Last year the Eagles started out 0-4 and still clawed their way back to be a coinflip away from the playoffs. This team is a blue-collar team, Hanson said, whether they know it or not. The players do not have a lot of flash or flare, but they have the ability to grind down teams. He is confident the team will be ready to go back to work on Monday.
Hanson said he does not see this team getting down on themselves and trusts the culture he has built with his program. He has coached the senior class since they were freshmen and knows they will bounce back and be ready for the next game.
Tongue River is back on the road against Pine Bluffs High School next week.