CASSTOWN — Being on the road has not gone well for the National Trail football team. The Blazers lost their second game of the season, 42-0, to the Miami East Vikings.
Last week, the Blazers fell to host Preble Shawnee (50-0).
NT is now looking for the comforts of their own turf and for wins.
The game was close in the first half, as the Blazers only allowed a touchdown in each of the first two quarters, making it 14-0, on two big plays.
“I think we did one heck of a job defensively in the first half,” said National Trail coach Randy Kerns. “Outside of a few penalties, two turnovers, and two big plays, we were in that game against Miami East. But in the second half, they made some adjustments and took control of the game on us.”
In the first quarter, the Vikings didn’t score until late, when they scampered in for a 31-yard touchdown on a counter-trap play. But on several drives, the Blazers hurt themselves starting a first-and-ten with a penalty or two. They were able to move the ball better, but were unable to seriously threaten the Viking defense for a score.
The second quarter saw a bit more physical play, as a number of drives stalled on 3-and-out sequences by both teams. A few drives did manage to get going for the Blazers, but once again, they couldn’t generate a score despite a 70-yard drive that ran out of time in the quarter.
Miami East scored their second touchdown in the middle of the second period — it was set up by a key fumble by National Trail.
“We went into the locker room feeling good about ourselves,” said Kerns. “I don’t think we were ever this close to Miami East at halftime since I can remember. So we were upbeat and eager to start the second half. We were matching up with them physically and we just needed to get an offensive drive going.”
Once the second half opened, ME made short work of any confidence NT had in the game. After each team suffered a 3-and-out, Miami East started moving the ball at will on a hard-nosed running game and from there on, it was all in favor of the Vikings. They scored two touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to put the game out of reach.
National Trail was led by senior quarterback Ben Sullivan, who went 9-for-18 passing for 104 yards, but was intercepted three times. Tyler Glander led the rushing offense, gaining 34 yards on nine carries. Jacob Heck made four catches for 39 yards, while speedster Angel Garabito had three catches for 43 yards.
Defensively, the Blazers saw DT Levi Norton register 11 tackles and one tackle for loss, while Glander had nine tackles and a sack. Sullivan, Heck, and Trey Mann each had six tackles on the night.
“We need to start believing in ourselves and not get down so soon when things don’t quite go our way,” Kerns said. “We are not rushing for enough yards and we are not getting any takeaways defensively. Our defensive line is very good, but overall we really need to get better and give our offense more chances. We were very good up front by causing a lot of negative plays against them, but you wouldn’t know that unless you saw the game and how they made some big plays.”
National Trail is now winless at 0-2, and 0-1 in the Cross County Conference. They will face Preble County foe Twin Valley South on Friday, Sept. 9, in their first home game of the season.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH