By ROB HAMILTON
In many aspects of their game at home with Heath on Friday, Highland was able to perform well.
The defense was solid for large portions of the contest, the duo of quarterback Max Schreiber and running back Jared Limings provided a good chunk of running yards and kicker Satchel Denton got the team off to a good start by drilling a 26-yard field goal early in the second quarter to give them a 3-0 lead.
However, the team was consistently hurt by penalties throughout the game and also committed five turnovers — including a pair of fumbles on the Heath side of the field — in suffering a 25-9 loss to the Bulldogs that dropped them to 0-2 on the season.
“We did a lot of good things tonight,” said head coach Chad Carpenter. “But when you have that many penalties and turnovers, it’s going to catch up.”
The first turnover potentially kept the Scots from scoring in the first quarter. After the two teams traded punts on their opening possessions, Highand took the ball from their 38 to the Bulldog 22, as Limings ran for 27 yards and Schreiber hit Alex Wright and Jacob Fox for passes totaling 15 more.
A fumble would erase that good work, though, giving the ball back to Heath. However, Highland would force a quick punt and drive down the field, making it to the nine-yard line before kicking a field goal to take the lead with 8:26 remaining in the first half.
Unfortunately for Highland, that advantage would not last long. Heath got the ball on their 36-yard line and quarterback Aaron Latiolais led them down the field quickly. The junior completed a 24-yard pass and had runs of 23 and 12, the latter scoring a touchdown. The extra point kick was blocked, but the Bulldogs held a 6-3 advantage.
They’d quickly add another touchdown, as a Scot pass was picked off at the Heath 36. Highland had driven to the 36 before a hold pushed them back to midfield, leading to a third-and-long situation and the pick. After a pair of Latiolais runs netted 17 yards, he hit Simon Romine for a 42-yard gain and then went to play-action to connect with Brock Williams for a five-yard score.
“We moved the ball really well at times, but then you have a turnover or a penalty moves the ball back,” said Carpenter. “We created those situations for ourselves.”
The Scots looked to grab the momentum going into the half, though, as Schreiber connected with Garrett Mentzer on a deep pass that went for a 75-yard catch-and-run touchdown, making the score 12-9. However, lightning would then delay the start of the second half for roughly 30 minutes after halftime had concluded.
Heath would then take the opening possession of the second half and hold the ball for nearly five minutes before turning it over on downs at the Scot 17. Highland would then embark on their own long drive, holding it for 11 plays and eating 6:17 off the clock. They would not score, though, as after moving into Bulldog territory at the 40, they fumbled it to their opponents.
The Scots would momentarily benefit from a turnover as Williams lost the ball on the Scot one-yard line while trying to reach the end zone after nabbing a Latiolais pass. Unfortunately, after a pair of Levings’ runs moved them to the 19, they would fumble for the third time.
With the ball on the Highland 22, Heath would not be stopped this time, scoring on a short run by Latiolais to take an 18-9 lead with 8:52 remaining.
Heath would add a late touchdown in the final two minutes to finish on top by 16 points, as the Scots would not reach Bulldog territory again in the contest.
Highland will finish the non-league portion of their schedule next Friday at River Valley. Carpenter noted that he was proud of the effort, but the main key for his players will be to cut down on the mistakes.
“Absolutely,” he said. “We’re just not doing the little things that will help us win games, but the effort is great.”
Limings finished with 101 rushing yards, while Schreiber added 72 on the ground. The quarterback added 129 yards on 7-of-15 passing. Dylan Tuggle caught three balls for 40 yards, while Mentzer added his 75-yard touchdown reception.
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS