Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

September 14, 2013

Pirate offense struggles in 19-10 loss to Oblong

Effingham Daily News

---- — TOLEDO – Cumberland failed to put points on the board one too many times Friday in its 19-10 loss.

That included a blocked field goal at the end of the first half that turned out to be the difference in the game when the Pirates had the ball, trailing by three points with 1:55 left in the game.

With a first-and-goal at the end of the first half, Cumberland lost two yards on three plays and tried settling for a field goal that would’ve made the game 7-3 at halftime, but the field goal was blocked.

Oblong came out after halftime, leading 7-0, and scored on their second drive of the game as quarterback Alec Jacobs led his team on a four-play, 75-yard drive that included a 54-yard pass to Kurtis Fleek.

On the ensuing possession, Cumberland marched down the field and converted a fake punt that set up another red zone opportunity.

On first-and-10 from the 12-yard-line, Cumberland fumbled the ball on a run – similar to a play in the first half when they fumbled and lost possession in the red zone – but recovered it.

The Oblong defensive line held strong, allowing minimal gains and forcing Cumberland into a fourth-and-eight with the Cumberland coaches having a decision to make.

Instead of trying another field goal, after one was blocked in the first half, Cumberland’s offense took the field on fourth down. Oblong’s Ian Sablone batted down a Cumberland pass attempt to give his team the ball back.

“The defense played tremendous tonight,” Oblong coach Travis Reider said. “That’s a very physical Cumberland team.”

With the turnover, Oblong controlled the ball with 11:18 to play in the game and the Cumberland defense came up with a stop.

Oblong went three and out, failing to convert and third-and-six, and settled for a punt; however, Jacobs, who was the punter, dropped the snap in the endzone and Cumberland’s defenders swarmed to him to force a safety that gave the Pirates their first points on the board.

“The punt for the safety was our game changer,” Cumberland head coach Kevin Maynard said. “One of our offensive goals was to get a special teams play.”

Cumberland’s Holden Elwood returned the ensuing kickoff into Oblong territory at the 39-yard line and Cumberland quarterback Monte Wolke led a comeback drive in 13 plays.

Cumberland almost scored halfway through the drive, with 6:34 on the clock, but a false start penalty brought it back. Later, Elwood capitalized on the field position with a one-yard run.

Trailing 13-8, Cumberland went for a two-point conversion, but failed; however, Oblong gave them a second chance with offsetting penalties. Wolke ran the ball in on the do-over, to bring the score to 13-10.

“We want to put the ball in Monte’s hands and have him make decisions,” Maynard said. “I thought he did a nice job with that in hurry-up situations.”

After forcing an Oblong punt, Cumberland put the ball in Wolke’s hands, but four consecutive incomplete passes caused the Pirates to turn it over deep in their own territory.

Oblong’s Brody Allen scored a 25-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach of Cumberland. The extra point was blocked, but the touchdown was enough.

“Brody Allen really stepped up,” Reider said. “The offensive line play really well tonight.”

An inability to put points on the board when they had a chance hurt Cumberland and was a trend that continued from the past two games, Maynard said.

“Going into this game, we’ve been in the red zone five times and came out with two touchdowns,” Maynard said. “We tried to do some different things up front to give us more push. I really don’t have an answer for it.”

Cumberland was also stopped on fourth down 39 yards from the end zone on their first drive of the game. The Pirates turned the ball over with a fumble in the second quarter after a 12-play drive got them to the three-yard-line.

“We’ve been in every ball game,” Maynard said, as his team starts the season 0-3. “We’re just running out of excuses for reasons why we aren’t winning games.”

For this game, Maynard said the big play came too late when there was only 1:55 in the fourth quarter to put together a drive to tie or win the game.

Next week, Cumberland will look for its first win against Palestine/Hutsonville.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or alex.mcnamee@effinghamdailynews.com.

Oblong 7 0 6 6 19

Cumberland 0 0 0 10 10

Rushing: Oblong: Allen 1-25-1, Fleek 2-14-0; Cumberland: Wolke 14-69-0, Elwood 22-63-1

Passing: Oblong: Jacobs 14-25-240, 2 TD, 1 INT; Cumberland: Wolke 9-25-92

Receiving: Oblong: Allen 8-157-1, Mendenhall 2-18-1; Cumberland: Elwood 3-33-0, Kemper 3-32-0