ANSONIA — The National Trail football team traveled to Ansonia on Friday, Sept. 23, for a Cross County Conference match-up, only to fall short, 30-0.
The loss was the third time this season the Blazers failed to score.
“We didn’t play well at all,” said Trail coach Randy Kerns. “The first play was indicative of our efforts. We had no intensity, we were back to the same old problems with penalties, turnovers, and silly mistakes. We just committed way too many mistakes.”
The game started fairly well for Trail, as they were able to move the ball on their initial series down the field with a nice drive, but a key penalty put them back out of the red zone. The drive ended as the Blazers gave up a sack on a fourth down play.
Ansonia was able to get a long pass play on the visitors, which led to a touchdown for an early 6-0 score.
“We were really really flat,” said Kerns. “Offensively, we didn’t get much going regardless.”
Trail later lost a fumble in the first quarter.
The next quarter saw a similar game for National Trail. They moved the ball on some drives, but could not score. With only a few minutes left in the half, NT conducted a two-minute drill but threw an interception, which was returned for several yards by the Tigers. On the next play, a bootleg pass and a missed a tackle had Ansonia scoring a late touchdown before the half, making it 14-0.
“We felt like we were the better team going into the game and we needed to play like it,” said Kerns. “We felt okay with only a 14-0 deficit, we just needed a couple of plays to get back into the game. So we challenged the kids to play better at halftime.”
But things did not get any better for the Blazers, who got the ball after some personnel changes in the backfield. But, Trail suffered a fumble to kill a drive. Ansonia took advantage of the turnover and went on a 12-plus play drive which moved on Trail methodically, ending in another touchdown.
The Tigers led 22-0 at the end of the third quarter.
In the final quarter, National Trail moved the ball and drove down into Tiger territory but threw another interception on a bad pass.
NT responded defensively causing the home team to punt. But, after the Blazers received the ball, they suffered a fourth turnover on a fumble.
Ansonia was able to score before the end of the game. The Blazers had one more chance after a long kick return by Angel Garabito, but ended up going backwards on penalties and miscues, wasting a final opportunity to break the shutout.
“We moved the football, just as we had against everyone except against Shawnee,” said Kerns. “But bad karma happened on us tremendously. We gotta figure out why we are minus-13 in the turnover ratio, and why we average so many penalties. We need to translate our good practices to the playing field. We need to get a lot better and quicker.”
National Trail sports a 1-4 overall record, and is 0-3 in the CCC standings. They will host Arcanum for homecoming on Friday, Sept. 30.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH.