NORTH ROBINSON — Indians first-year head coach Phil Mauro knows where there is room for improvement after his squad’s opening 31-0 loss to Colonel Crawford here Friday night.
“We can’t turn the ball over and give them short fields. They are a good team. But we have to take care of the football,” Mauro said.
Several Mount Gilead fumbles and some untimely penalties led to Eagle touchdowns in the first half.
“But they are correctable mistakes,” he added.
The hosts took a quick 6-0 lead when Ethan Suter ran up the middle for 18 yards.
But it was in the second quarter where the Indians ran into trouble. Tristan Cross, a 215-pound powerhouse, ran for two of his three touchdowns and put the Eagles on top 31-0.
He rushed for 110 yards on 14 carries. Suter added 40 yards on five trips.
Eagles head coach Ryan Teglovic said his team also can improve.
“It wasn’t a perfect game at all. You make your most improvement from week one to week two so we got a ways to go and clean a lot of things up,” he said.
“We have a nice tandem back there with those two guys. They got a little bit of a burst. They did a nice job tonight and both run hard,” Teglovic said.
Quarterback Brock Ritzhaupt connected with Jordan Fenner from nine yards out for the other Eagles score. Drew Krassow hit one PAT kick in three attempts.
Teglovic also credited the Indians with a solid effort.
“I thought they were well prepared. They have some good size up front and had a good game plan,” he said.
Coming off two winless seasons, Mauro has a simple mindset for Mount Gilead.
“We are a windshield philosophy. We‘re moving forward. Whatever’s happened has happened. We are worried about the future. Our team chemistry in our locker room is awesome,” Mauro said.
“Number 32 is a freshman (Matt Bland) and he’s going to be pretty good,” he said.
Bland showed his ability catching a 35-yard pass from quarterback Joel Butterman, a first-year senior. Bland also was in on several tackles from his defensive back position and returned the second-half kickoff 65 yards to the Crawford 29-yard-line.
Junior linebacker Chuy Rubio recovered a fumble for Mount Gilead and senior running back Brady Mermann had a 21-yard run. Andy Williamson played a solid game at linebacker.
“We gotta come back and work and get better,” Mauro said. “No. 12 (Butterman) is going to be fine. This is his first year playing varsity football.
“I’m proud of our guys. They’re working hard, they’re buying in. We’re going to be fine.”
Mount Gilead plays Upper Sandusky this week and Colonel Crawford travels to North Union in non-league contests.
“North Union is physical up front. They got a couple running backs returning who were really good last year,” Teglovic said. “I’m impressed most with their physicality.”