Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

September 15, 2012

Faulkner wallops Bluefield Rams

BLUEFIELD — This year, the Bluefield Rams have little room for mistakes.

After building a 10-3 lead early in the second, those mistakes started to add up as the Rams fell 52-10 to Faulkner Saturday afternoon at Mitchell Field.

“I told our guys [after the game] we’re not good enough to not only compete against our opponent, but compete against ourselves,” Bluefield College head coach Mike Gravier said. “We can’t get out of our own way. That’s our biggest issue right now. Everything that happened that second half was because of mistakes, guys not doing the right techniques, the wrong reads and missing tackles.

“It’s all self-inflicted. We’ve been doing it for four weeks now and we’ve got to learn to get out of our own way and play like we did the first 30 minutes. We’ll be fine if we can put that together.”

Bluefield (0-4, 0-1 Mid-South) gave the Eagles (2-1, 1-0) inside the 50-yard line twice in the second quarter on special teams’ mistakes. The first was a failed onside kick attempt and the other on a bad snap punting.

Faulkner took advantage of the short field for two scores to take a 16-10 lead into the half.

“That’s all part of not getting out of our way,” Gravier said. “If something bad happens, forget it and move on. Before they scored, we had two missed assignments on offense that led to us punting then we had the bad snap on the punt. Before we know it instead of being ahead 10-9, we’re now down 16-10. We start feeling that tightness in our throat and chest and we’re not able to overcome that yet.”

The mistakes continued to add up in the third quarter while the Eagles took full control of the game.

Following a Triston MaCathern three-yard rushing touchdown, Bluefield was held to a three-and-out. On the punt attempt, the snap was mishandled by the punter allowing Faulkner to take the ball over on the 20-yard line which turned into an Eagles touchdown one play later.

Bluefield was forced to punt again on their next possession and while the punt went off without a problem, the Rams were tagged for a personal foul penalty after the play. The penalty put the ball inside the 50-yard line and Faulkner received another 15 yards on a personal foul face mask penalty by Bluefield.

“Those guys over there have come along way,” Faulkner head coach Brent Barker said. “In the first half, they were ready to play. They gave us all we could handle in the first. Our size, speed and depth probably took over in the second half and wore them down.”

The Rams looked good early as they scored on a 36-yard field goal attempt by Mikel Hawks on their opening drive. Faulkner answer with a 22-yard field goal from Jacob Smith as neither team took control in the opening quarter.

Bluefield took the lead in the second quarter as Greg Hampton rumbled for a 15-yard touchdown as the Eagles could not wrap him up.

“We were executing. That was the biggest thing,” Gravier said. “We were doing the things that we were supposed to do. We didn’t change a whole lot in the second half and we had stuff opened.

“We just stopped executing. Whether it was the offensive line, quarterback or receivers, we just stopped doing what we were doing in the first half.”

Josh Hollingsworth connected with Junior Allen for a 14-yard strike to bring Faulkner within one. One the ensuing extra point attempt, Jacob Smith’s kick bounced off the uprights to allow Bluefield to hold onto a 10-9 lead.

The Eagles would grab the lead just before the end of the half though thanks to a special teams’ error by the Rams. Daniel Griffin was back to punt for Bluefield, but the snap came well short and Griffin couldn’t get the punt off.

It took Faulkner three plays to make Bluefield pay for their mistakes as Hollingsworth found Chris Kordakis on a 13-yard touchdown pass.

The Rams woes carried over into the second half.

The Eagles opened the third with a three-yard score by McCathern. They would score two plays later following Bluefield’s special teams mistake. Steven Dawson took a pitch from Hollingsworth then hit Radarius Owens who was wide open for a 20-yard touchdown.

“We started off real slow against Georgetown last week and we ended up scoring more points than them in the second,” Barker said. “I’m going to give [Bluefield] more credit than us not being ready. We spread the ball around to a lot of different people.

“Our quarterback is really good. We’ve got four running backs that run the ball well. For a four quarter game, we’re going to be tough to handle.”

Hollingsworth threw his third touchdown pass to Kahne Cooper to make it 37-10 midway through the third.

The Eagles continued to add on in the fourth with McCathern’s second touchdown and six-yard score by David Cochran as Faulkner built a 42-point advantage.

The Rams were held scoreless for the final 37 minutes of the game.

“We kind of picked up the pace in there defensively,” Barker said. “I’ll give Bluefield credit – their running back is tough and their line did a good job early. Our defense has come along way.

“We were the worst defense in the country last year. Our defense is much better and we’re looking forward to going home.”

Faulkner finished with 300 yards through the air and 271 yards on the ground.

Hollingsworth completed 28-of-35 attempts for 231 yards and three touchdowns. McCathern rushed for 124 yards on eight carries.

Four different Eagles had touchdowns receiving – Cooper, Owens, Allen and Kordakis. Cooper had eight catches for 88 yards.

Hampton, who was one of the three Rams to see time under center, was 10-of-17 for 127 yards. Marion Harris rushed for 75 yards on nine carries and Josh Wells added 54 yards on 21 carries.

The Rams had eight different players with a grab. Wells had three for six yards while Michael Nesmith had two for 44 yards.

“I talked about getting out of our own way, but I also talked about if we can build on that first half, we’ll be fine,” Gravier said after the game. “If we can put two of those together in one afternoon, I think we’ll be okay. Honestly, if we put two of those together and lose, I’m fine.

“It’s frustrating as coach and probably as players when you look at the scoreboard and its 52-10. They’re not 42 points better than us. That’s what’s frustrating and it makes it look a lot worse than it really is.”

Bluefield travels to Bethel (Tenn.) next Saturday for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff.

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