YORKTOWN – As the final seconds ticked away in Friday’s tilt at Yorktown’s football field, wide receiver Brandt Applegate gave about as concise a summation of what the Tigers will have to take away from the night.
“We’ve got a lot to work on,” he told teammates moments before the handshake line.
Yorktown’s new-look offense went in fits and starts. The defense watched a dominant start go for naught with a series of second-half miscues. The Tigers were ultimately good enough to survive 34-21 but needed a late play from their top player to lock it in.
“There was no rhythm to anything that happened tonight,” Yorktown coach Mike Wilhelm said. “It was just an ugly, ugly football game.
“We were not consistent play by play.”
Yorktown (1-0) had seen a 28-7 lead shrink to 28-21 with the Indians (0-1) holding the ball on their own 16. That’s when Anderson quarterback Dylan Barron tried to extend a play and Yorktown lineman Anthony Todd tracked him down for a strip sack.
Yorktown recovered on the Anderson 1, setting up a Brogan Miller 1-yard dive to give the Tigers breathing room.
“I had a move ready and the kid bit on it,” said Todd, a Ball State commit. “I got a hold of the kid, next thing I know we’re going nuts.”
The Tigers’ defense dominated early, allowing only 14 first-half yards and no first downs in the first 31 minutes. But then came a sting of coverage busts or blown assignments, allowing Barron to connect with Aaron Aarmstrong and Dayshaun Johnson for three plays of 33 or more yards. Wilhelm particularly lamented how his team knew Johnson (four catches, 104 yards) was a top playmaker, yet he continued to get open.
But any late push served as little solace to Anderson coach Robert Brown.
“In all honesty, it annoys me,” Brown said. “Because if we can play like that in the third and fourth, we can play like that in the first and second. We don’t look at it as a moral victory. We look at it as, why couldn’t we do that in the first two quarters? I’m not happy that we fought back. I’m pissed off we didn’t fight for four quarters.”
His defense did a fine job gumming up a Tigers attack aimed at leaning more toward the run (usually balanced, the Tigers kept the ball on the ground for 48 of 55 plays). The Indians played safeties close to the line, meaning every Tigers run had to be on-point.
Players said many times, one member was missing in action, leading to an inefficient output. That was led by Dawson Allen’s 97 yards, while ex-JV star Jordan Spangler added 85 (Yorktown averaged 4.3 yards per rush).
Then the Tigers allowed a punt return for a touchdown, and numerous procedure issues where players didn’t get on the field, line up correctly or missed their assignment (the team is much younger than a season ago).
That said, the Tigers survived, but they left knowing what they have to do going forward.
“We need to not be so sloppy,” Todd said. “We were sloppy in my opionon. Special teams, kids not being on the field. Not knowing formations and stuff like that.
“We’ve got to get things under control. I think we will. I think we will.”