By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Coaches never take pleasure in losing. But lessons learned in defeat can foster growth in a team down the road.
That’s what Coach Dan Lenners wants his team to come away with after suffering their first loss of the season Friday.
The Cambridge Trojans took advantage of some defensive breakdowns by the Longhorns to claim a 20-7 victory.
“All three of Cambridge’s touchdowns came on broken assignments,” Lenners said this week after watching the game film.
Lenners said those miscues can be fixed in an effort to keep getting better every week.
On a positive note, Lenners commended his players for competing well against the 7th ranked Trojans.
After the game, Lenners said Cambridge’s coach told him the Longhorns proved to be far more physical than they had expected.
“I’m happy with that,” Lenners said.
Lenners said the defense played well. He credited Tyler Roenfeldt for his efforts on the line. “He disrupted a lot of stuff,” Lenners said.
Offensively, the Longhorns struggled to get their ground game established, picking up just 64 yards all night.
Alex Strand did a good job of passing the ball, Lenners said. He was 7-13 with a touchdown against one interception.
Cambridge scores first
It was that interception on the opening drive of the game that gave Cambridge their first opportunity.
Taking over on the Longhorns’ 46, they needed just seven plays to move the distance for the score.
An errant kick left the score 6-0 with nearly six minutes left in the first.
After trading possessions, the Longhorns gave up another turnover, this time fumbling the ball away on their own 29.
Six plays later, they scored on a 4th-and-1 from the 5 yard line. A two-point conversion failed, putting the Trojans up 12-0 with 6:55 left in the second.
Two possessions later, the Longhorns created some field position advantage, downing the punt at the 2.
The defense forced Cambridge to punt from the back of their end zone.
Deep back Misael Garcia gave the Longhorns great field position, running it back to Cambridge 14 with just 19.5 seconds left in the half.
The Longhorns grabbed some big momentum going into half when Stand found Jeff Banks in the end zone on the very next play.
Garcia added the extra point and the Longhorns made it a 12-7 game at half.
Neither team could sustain a drive in the third quarter as the teams traded possessions.
After a Longhorn punt with 9:27 left in the game, Cambridge went to their ground game.
Starting at their own 35, they pounded the run at the Longhorns.
They ate up more than seven minutes off the clock and faced a 4th-and-goal from the Longhorn 2 yard line.
The Longhorn defense put up a great stand but the hand of an outstretched Trojan halfback got the ball across the goal line.
They added a two-point conversion to make the score 20-7 with just 2:24 left to play.
During that time, the Longhorns completed four passes to move from their own 20 to the Cambridge 35 before losing the ball on downs to seal their fate.
The Longhorn defense held Cambridge under 200 yards rushing with 185 yards. Cambridge also picked up 20 in the air.
Defensively, linebackers Alex Strand and Tanner Stromberger led the team with 16 and 14 tackles respectively. Roenfeldt added 10 more tackles.
Morrill this week
The Longhorns will make the long trek to Morrill this week for their first C2-10 district game.
Morrill comes into the game at 0-3. Kick off is set for 7 p.m. MT.
Stats at a glance
Tackles (solos-assists)— Alex Strand 12-4, Tanner Stromberger 11-3, Tyler Roenfeldt 6-4, Nathan Hinojosa 4-3, Dan Regier 3-3, Jeremiah Lueth 4-1, Lucas Bauerle 2-2, Trevor Fuehrer 2-2, Misael Garcia 2-2, Jakob Burke 3-0, Paul Gaschler 2-1, Daniel Hogsett 2-0, Keithan Cochran 0-2, Steven Fish 1-1, Jeff Banks 0-1, Michael May 0-1, Charlie Haarberg 0-1.
Rushing (attempts-yards)—Misael Garcia 8-20, Michael May 3-16, Paul Gaschler 9-12, Steven Fish 6-9, Alex Strand 5-7.
Receiving (attempts-completions-yards-TD-2 pt. conv.)—Steven Fish 4-4-60-0-0, Jeff Banks 1-1-14-1-0, Daniel Regier 2-1-11-0-0, Michael May 1-1-3-0-0.
Passing (attempts-completions-yards-interceptions-TD-2 pt. conv.)—Alex Strand 13-7-88-1-1-0.
Cambridge: Delvin Jackson 5 yd. touchdown run, kick by Anthony Rodriguez no good.
Cambridge: Jackson 4 yd. touchdown run, 2-pt. conversion failed.
CCS: 14 yard touchdown pass from Alex Strand to Jeff Banks, kick by Misael Garcia good.
Cambridge: Jackson 2 yd. touchdown run, 2-pt. conversion run by Carson Farr good.
CCS 0 7 0 0— 7
Cambridge 6 6 0 8—20