Iota's skid continues with loss to Oakdale

IOTA - Iota has spent the last few weeks improving but continually coming up short.

This week, the location of the game changed as did the opponent (the Oakdale Warriors this time), but the result did not.

“It’s the same story every week,” said Iota Head Coach Neal Legé.

Friday night, Iota picked up its seventh loss of the season by losing to the Warriors, 21-14. The loss moved Iota to 0-7 (0-2 in district 5-2A play), while Oakdale moved to 4-3 (2-0) on the year.

It wasn’t as if Iota didn’t have their chances; three turnovers in the first half and touchdown called back due to a holding penalty netted Iota six points out of a possible 24.

“We’re calling plays that we’ve run 100 times in practice and then lining up wrong, running the wrong way and so on,” said Legé. “It’s simple stuff.”

Blown blocking assignments leading to busted plays and penalties hurt the Bulldogs and were the biggest reason for the defeat Friday night.

In fact, throughout the game, the busted plays for Iota proved to be a major Achilles’ heel. The Dogs had few seconds to get a play moving before they were met with several Oakdale defenders in the back field or, at least, the line of scrimmage. The missed blocking assignments did nothing to help the situation for Iota either. Thus instead of pulling off a win, the Bulldogs once again found themselves in the “L” column.

“We’re finding ways to lose,” said Legé. “Until we can fix ourselves, we aren’t going to beat anyone.”

The ball game was close all night for the two teams with the lead never exceeding 15 points. In the first half, Oakdale would strike first. The Warriors go-to running back, Damien Ward would break off a 43-yard rushing touchdowns early in the first quarter. The big play capped off a five-play 67 yard drive that took less than two minutes of the clock.

Iota finally answered in the opening seconds of the second quarter when Brandon Fantroy’s 18 yard run capped off a drive that came off of Ryan Chapman’s interception of Oakdale’s Rush Williams and a 32 yard interception return. The play was a spark of hope but would not score again until the third quarter.

Oakdale would not remain quiet while Iota drew within one point as they concluded a 10 play, 58 yard drive with a one-yard quarterback keeper by Williams. Oakdale’s Aaron Welch would successfully convert his second extra point attempt on the night and Iota would go into the half down eight points.

In the second half, it was more of the same, when Iota did something right there was either a bad break or an Oakdale answer that followed.

Oakdale again would strike first. Oakdale would get the ball first and would put an explanation point on its lead by scoring a touchdown, making Iota face a 15 point deficit.

Still though, Fantroy and the Iota offense would not back down. They had a great drive in the late third to early fourth quarter. The Iota running back’s three yard run closed out Iota’s 12 play-69 yard drive.

But it was too little too late. Because even though Iota appeared to pick up a touchdown that would draw the Dogs to within one point once again, a penalty against the Bulldogs would negate the valiant effort by Fantroy

“We have kids playing hard,” said Legé, “but we find ways to make a bad play.”

In a losing effort, Iota was led by Fantroy (14 carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and three receptions for 23 yards in the air), Thomas Murrell (11 carries for 24 yards), Trever Fruge (one catch for 31 yards) and Nick Sloane and Troy Bouley (two carries for five yards each). For his part, JT LeJeune completed four of six of his passes, picking 54 yards in the air.

Meanwhile, the Oakdale Warriors’ Damien Ward had a very impressive outing. Ward had 25 carries for 190 yards. Iota knew if they were going to have a chance of winning they would need to contain the speedy and powerful back, but they didn’t.

“He was able to hit the seams and get up field and we just had no answer for him,” said Legé. “We would stop him on one big play and on the next, a third and 15, he would break off a big play.

“He wanted it more than us, plain and simple.”

He was joined by Rush Williams’ 12 carries for 50 yards and B.J. Allison’s three carries for 24 yards. In the air, Williams completed one pass out of seven attempts. He threw two interceptions on the night and 18 yards on the night.

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