WINTERS— Winters running back Jovan Young exploited the winless Bangs Dragons’ biggest weakness Friday, racking up more than 200 yards of rushing and three touchdowns in a 36-6 victory.
Already struggling to bring down opposing runners in weeks one and two against Early and Hawley, the Dragons were no match for the 2A Winters Blizzards’ triple-option offense, which scored 22 unanswered points in the second half to run away with the victory.
“When you play an option team, it’s assignment football and you have to be disciplined,” Bangs head coach Kyle Maxfield said. “Just to be honest, we’re not there yet. We made plays at times and gave up plays at times, but when the defense did their job and created turnovers, it’s like we were snake-bit on offense and could not use the momentum to our advantage. I don’t think we scored off any of our turnovers.”
After both teams came up empty on their opening drives, Winters lit the board first after quarterback Miguel Rodriguez found the edge on a 10-yard run, then converted the two-point attempt.
Later in the first, Bangs senior quarterback Justin Wilson came up favoring his throwing arm after heaving an interception. An interception by sophomore Evan Belez on the ensuing series gave Bangs the ball back at the 1-yard line, then a 3-yard rush by Ethan Sanchez gave the Dragons a bit more room to work with. Wilson extended Bangs’ margin for error by another yard, but in doing so seemed to re-injure his throwing arm and was out of action for the rest of the night. During his first play under center, backup quarterback Seth Anderson found the seem on an option, then cut back up the middle of the field on a 95-yard touchdown run. Unbeknownst to Bangs, it would be the only score of the night.
“The play fell together perfectly and you just have to make people miss in the open field,” Anderson said. “I do my best to do that and hopefully I score. It’s different from the positions I usually play. When your starting quarterback gets hurt it throws off everything you have planned and we had to change the script on a lot of things and run some plays we did not plan on running. It really hurt us.”
Although a formidable athlete who has routinely finished atop virtually every offensive category each game this season, Anderson said stepping in for Wilson took more away from the Dragons’ offense than it added. With Anderson at quarterback instead of receiver or running back, Winters isolated Anderson and let the play breakdown around him.
“The open week is going to come at a good time to get everybody healthy,” Maxfield said. “We get (defensive end/tackle) Hayden King and Justin back. We were getting multi-dimensional on offense, and when Seth is back there at quarterback it’s pretty easy to kill.”
With the loss, the Dragons fall to 0-3 and go into the bye week still struggling to make tackles and coming off its first significant offensive struggle of the season. Keeping to his theme all season, Maxfield said his team is young and instead of pouring the next few weeks itemizing every move from upcoming district opponent Anson, he will focus on fundamentals and getting his players healthy.
“We’re getting a little better at things,” Maxfield said. “This open week, we’re going to focus on the fundamentals and get better at tackling, and blocking. Winters is a good Class 2A football team and they’re going to win a lot of games this year.”
Bangs will not be the only district opponent looking for its first win of the season when the Dragons face Anson Sept. 28. Anson also struggled early this season with losses to Hamlin 42-12, Jim Ned 48-30 and Stamford 61-28 Friday night. Maxfield said Anson will also be coming off a bye week so no team will have more time to prepare than the other.
“We played a good opponent tonight and the good thing is our record is 0-0 going into district,” Maxfield said. “In the big scheme of things, we have a lot to look forward to. We’ll look at them some, but where we’re at right now being in the first year of this program, it’s just the basics and fundamentals. The good thing is we’re open, the bad thing is Anson is too.”