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BUCKNER— If Oldham County coach Matt Brown could figure out why his team starts so slow, the outlook might be a little different for the Colonels.
In a similar tune to other games this season, Eastern was already up 6-0 on a touchdown pass four plays into the game. Again, Oldham County mounted a comeback but were still outplayed in nearly every statistic in falling to the Eagles 42-21.
“Since our guys are so young, I don’t know if it’s the thing that we think we just can’t compete from the beginning,” Brown said. “We start slow, don’t get out of the gate as quickly as we could. We’ve always been slow starters out of the gate, but we’ve always been really talented and been able to make up for that. Right now, we’re not as talented as we were before and we’re so young.”
By halftime, Eastern had marched to a 23-0 lead. All night, the Eagles controlled the tempo, most of it through the air where senior quarterback Tanner Evans completed 17 of 32 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns.
Eastern also had 15 possessions in which in tallied 18 first downs.
“We knew we could back, it’s just bigger, stronger, faster guys and with younger guys, a lot of time they get down,” senior running back Corbin Axtell said. “Mentally, it gets in their head, rattles ‘em.”
The biggest resistance came from senior cornerback Garrett Wilder, who ended three Eagles drives with interceptions.
“We played them in a seven-on-seven league and they changed a lot on us,” Wilder said. “We made some changes at half and pretty much shut their passing game down.”
Offensively, the Colonels were outgained in total offense 458-154. Junior quarterback Brett Strnad completed just 10 of 27 passes for 97 yards, 32 of which came on a fade pass to Axtell at the beginning of the third quarter that led to a one-yard touchdown run by Strnad.
“We just started out slow and things just weren’t rolling for us in the first half,” Axtell said. “Blocking was shady, we weren’t catching balls and sometimes that happens. Our offense just started out flat and that hurt us. You can’t start out like that if you wanna win a game like this.”
Despite a 2-6 record and despite a season that’s had plenty of letdowns, it’s not over for Oldham County. The Colonels travel to Ballard next week for another district game that could determine third place.
“We’re still looking for that magic button to push,” Brown said. “Hopefully we find it next week and maybe they understand that. Hopefully we can figure it out between now and next Friday.”
If only the Colonels’ start would match the game’s start.
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