COLEMAN — The Bangs Dragons hoped to break even in their pre-district schedule, but the Coleman Bluecats handed them a 41-14 loss Friday at Hufford Field in Coleman bringing their record to 1-3.
Dragon Head Coach Chuck Lipsey put the loss in perspective.
“I told them that it would be nice to be 4-0, but we are just not quite where we need to be,” Lipsey said. “The bottom line like I told them is that the first four games don’t mean anything. We all start with a clean slate.”
Even though Coleman was a heavy favorite thanks to running back Jaquan Hemphill, the Dragons managed to hold the Bluecats off until right at the end of the first half.
“We were really fired up. We played hard; we got off blocks,” Lipsey said. “We knew (Hemphill) was a good runner and that we had to get bodies to him.”
The Dragons managed to keep the Bluecats out of the end zone for a 0-0 score at the end of the first quarter. With 10:30 to play in the half, Coleman’s quarterback Cord Norris hit Royce Harris on a 5-yard pass. Hemphill ran in the two-point conversion to give Coleman an 8-0 lead.
Without running back Seth Ross, who is out for two weeks with an injury, the Dragons tried various offensive schemes. Using backs like Clay Funderburg, Jake Gravell and Justin “Smokey” Robinson, the Dragons tried to find holes in a large Bluecat defense.
The Dragons were driving into Coleman territory with 1:37 to play in the half when quarterback Keegan Hall slipped on the very wet turf. The ball squirted loose and Coleman’s Royce Harris picked it up running 76 yards for the score. The PAT was good and Coleman led 15-0.
A rattled Dragon offense could not recapture the energy of the previous drive and punted the ball back to the Bluecats. With just 11 seconds to play in the half, Mason Burkey caught a 60-yard pass to give the Bluecats a 21-0 lead at the break.
“The kids got down and frustrated,” Lipsey said. “We played hard and got after it early, but then we got tired and zapped and frustrated and it affected the way we tackled.”
The Dragons’ goal was to win the second half, but Hemphill was just getting started. He led the Bluecats into the end zone twice in the third quarter on runs of 43 and 8 yards. Both extra point kicks were good, giving Coleman a 35-0 lead.
Bright spots were hard to find in the second half, but one occurred late in the third quarter. To give Hall a break, Lipsey put in freshman Colton Brewer. With 1:37 to play, Brewer’s first pass as a varsity quarterback was a 23-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Johnson. Carlos Mejia’s extra points was good and Bangs was on the board, 35-7.
Hemphill would lead his team to one more score with 9:22 to play in the game when he ran 49 yards to put the Bluecats up 41-7. The extra point try failed. Hemphill ended the evening with 13 carries for 168 yards.
Brewer, who was 8 of 9 completions on the night, hit Mason Reichenau on a 23-yard touchdown pass with 7:23 to play. Mejia’s kick was good. The Dragons would go home with 14 points, but plenty to work on to prepare for the opening of district play.
“I still think we have the potential to put together a good football team,” Lipsey said. “For us to be good we have to all play together as a team. I still have faith in them. I think we will be fine.”
Bangs is open next week, but will open district play Oct. 3 as its hosts the Merkel Badgers for homecoming at Memorial Stadium.
Coleman 41, Bangs 14
Bangs 0 0 7 7 - 14
Coleman 0 21 14 6 - 41
First Downs 11 17
Total Offense 288 433
Rushes-Yards 22-54 36-309
Passing Yards 234 124
C-A-I 15-31-0 11-19-0
Fumbles Lost 1 2
Penalties 6-45 5-55
Punts 7-33.0 3-33.0