NEW PARIS — Self-inflicted mistakes were the theme of the evening as National Trail fell to Arcanum 42-25 on Friday, Sept. 18.
After the Blazers punted on their opening drive and then stopped the Trojans on fourth-and-1, an interception gave the ball right back to Arcanum.
Trail then forced a punt, and on the ensuing drive, the Blazers scored the first points of the game off a 4-yard rushing touchdown from #14 to make it 7-0.
On Arcanum’s next drive, the Blazers forced a stop with a sack by junior Ethan Wilson on third-and-7, but a facemask penalty extended the drive for the Trojans, later resulting in a 3-yard rushing TD to tie the game up.
With a chance to take the lead early in the second quarter, Trail did nothing but move backwards on first and second down before a block in the back penalty on third down, resulting in a punt after a third-and-25 pass from senior Dallas Smith to senior Clay Stiner fell short of the first down marker.
The next drive saw Arcanum start at its own 19-yard line, and after gains of 8 and 19 yards, the third play of the drive saw the Trojans find the endzone on a 57-yard passing TD to take the 14-7 lead as the Arcanum receiver broke tackles by two Blazers.
“It’s self-inflicted,” Trail coach Mark Hoffman said of the mistakes. “We shot ourselves in the foot every time we turned around.”
After a 19-yard run by senior Jacob Ray on Trail’s ensuing drive, an interception on third-and-5 turned the ball over again for the Blazers, but on Arcanum’s next drive, the ball was fumbled and recovered by Trail junior Jonathon Mclane.
Following another punt by the Blazers, the Trojans ran out the clock and took the 14-7 lead into the half.
On Arcanum’s first drive of the second half, the Blazers recovered a Trojan fumble, the fourth total turnover of the game to that point.
Starting at Arcanum’s 38-yard line, the Blazers all the way up to the Trojans 11-yard line, and after going nowhere third-and-7, Trail freshman Drew Dewitt nailed a 27-yard field goal to make it 14-10.
The teams then traded three-and-outs, and once Arcanum got the ball back at its own 38-yard line, the Trojans faced just one third down on the drive, and third-and-goal from the 7-yard line that resulted in a 7-yard rushing TD to extend their lead to 21-10.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Blazers went three-and-out after a sack on third-and-10, and after punts by both teams, the Trojans once again embarked on a long drive, moving 75 yards in a flash for another touchdown to widen the gap 28-10.
“We just had so many penalties. I bet we had 10 dropped passes. We had the interception. I mean, we just weren’t ready to play,” Hoffman said. “I’ll tell you what, I saw that we were flat before we ever came to the field. We just weren’t ready to go.”
With under eight minutes to go, the Blazers scored on a 34-yard passing touchdown from Smith to senior Sharvezz Carter, who also caught the successful 2-point conversion to make it 28-18, but the ensuing onside kick was unsuccessful.
Arcanum would go on to inflate the score with two long touchdown plays in the final minutes, making it 42-18 in just a matter of minutes.
The Blazers added a touchdown as time expired to make the final 42-25.
“We had some guys dinged up. We just didn’t play well,” Hoffman said. “These guys outplayed us they came out and smacked in the mouth and we stood around watch them.”
Friday was the second straight loss for the Blazers who fall to 2-2 on the season.
“When you look at the season as a whole, I’ll tell you what we’ve been, we’ve been playing pretty good,” Hoffman said. “We’ve been pretty positive.”
This week, National Trail will stay home as they take on Ansonia, who is 3-1 on the season, and Hoffman said it will be a dog fight.
“We’ve got to go play Ansonia next week right down here and it’s gonna be another dog fight,” he said. “It’s gonna be just like these guys here.”
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles