Through three games, including a 29-18 loss at Kentucky Country Day Friday, a lot of things are holding form for the Eminence football team, coach Steve Frommeyer said. He’s hoping some of those things remain the same. Others, he’s looking to change.
On the upside, senior running back TJ Cooper has rushed for 100-plus yards in each outing and has been the go-to player on offense; senior linebacker Brad Tapia has led the squad on defense each outing with 10-plus tackles each time out; a different young player has stepped up each week with freshman Bradley Foree opening with a strong first game, sophomore Nathan Carroll having a strong second game and freshman Dashion Moore stepping up against KCD; and the Warriors have held their opponents from gaining much yardage on the ground.
But, on the flip side, the Warriors have shown their inexperience through the first three weeks and their biggest problem is pass defense. It was evident in Friday night’s 11-point loss to KCD.
“Almost every defender in the secondary is a first-year starter, and three are true freshmen,” Frommeyer said. “We’re just really inexperienced in that area and it so happens that was the strong point for two of our first three opponents. It will come together for us. It’s happening slowly but surely — our players are starting to step up.”
Against KCD, Cooper took 18 handoffs for 102 yards and two touchdown carries. Also, Tapia finished with 11 tackles, while Moore finished with five and picked off one KCD pass and knocked down two others. As a team, the Warriors finished with 154 yards rushing and Dre Banta had 83 yards passing. Meanwhile, KCD carried the ball 24 times for just 25 yards, but had 260 yards in the air.
With few players having much experience this fall, the Warriors will rely on players like Moore — who Frommeyer was most impressed with on Friday — as the season progresses. The team’s depth will be a factor in the win-loss column at the end of the year.
“We’ve been playing a number of young guys to rest our older players and give those younger ones more experience,” Frommeyer said. “They’re going to make some mistakes because they don’t have that experience — we’ve been impacted by that already — but they’re learning and doing the best they can do.”
Through three weeks, the Warriors are 1-2. Their game scheduled against Evangel Christian this Friday night was canceled after Evangel dropped its football program, which will go down as a 1-0 forfeit win for Eminence because Evangel was not able to fulfill its contract.
Against KCD, the Bearcats scored the game’s first touchdown on a third-down-and-long situation when Eminence’s corner bit on a curl takeoff and its safety was out of position.
In the ensuing drive, Cooper took a handoff from Banta and raced 33 yards into the end zone. Before the first quarter came to an end, both teams scored once more. For EHS, Foree took a kickoff 90 yards, straight up the middle.
The Warriors took their first lead midway through the second quarter when Cooper scored on an 18-yard run. Later in the quarter, in a familiar play, KCD scored again on a long pass, which left Eminence in front by one point at the half.
During the second half, the Bearcats recovered an on-side kick, scored on a short run and kicked a field goal for the 32-12 victory.
“Besides a couple of draw plays, we totally shut down their running game,” Frommeyer said. “We’ve done that all year. We just can’t stop the pass, particularly the long pass. I keep seeing signs of improvements and I think we’ll get there but you can’t teach freshmen how to go against really good passing teams in two or three games. It will take time.”
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