One of life’s brutal realities is that you are only as good as your last gig. After the adrenalin rush of winning a hard-fought Gasconade County Bowl game rivalry against Owensville, the Bearcats hit the road to play the Sullivan Eagles last weekend and came up short, losing 21-6.
The Eagles shut down the Bearcat offense, who up to this game, had been getting over 400 yds. in total offense per game. Hermann put together 199 yds. against the Eagles with 93 of those yds. in the air. Brennan Knipping was the leading rusher with 46 yds. on 10 carries. Chase McKague had seven pass completions on 13 attempts, but threw a pick-6 interception by Eagle Luke Landwehr, in the second quarter. Keegan Head had six receptions for 74 yds. for the night.
The Bearcats one score in the game came in the first quarter from a blocked punt and recovery on the three-yard line, setting up the touchdown run, but the extra point attempt failed. Sullivan answered late in the second quarter, putting the ball in from the three with 4:59 on the clock. Their extra-point kick was no good, leaving the score at 6-6.
“No matter what their record is, Sullivan is always one of the most physical teams we play,” said Hermann Head Coach Andy Emmons, to KLPW Sports Club’s John Covington. “We had trouble running the ball on the outside and they were filling gaps on the inside—it’s a credit to them. We hadn’t seen a team as physical as Sullivan [this year].”
Coach Emmons acknowledged the team was their own enemy at crucial times, receiving penalties after making big plays, having a couple of fumbled snaps, with one of them for a turnover. He said a turning point in the game was in the second quarter with the score tied 6-6. Keegan Head caught a pass for big yardage into the end zone that was called back on a holding penalty. The next play, QB McKague threw an interception for a 30-yard touchdown strike.
“To go from celebrating [a touchdown] in the end zone, to having it called back and then having the pick-6—that was it,” said the coach. “We couldn’t [mentally] overcome that.”
Coach Emmons said the offensive game plan was to come out throwing, to spread the Eagle defense out, and open up the middle for the running game.
“We had some success with that,” he said.
He noted that Sullivan’s defense responded quickly to any success the Bearcats had on the ground, with a particular play.
“They wouldn’t let the same look (play) fool them twice,” he said. “It’s just the mark of a well-coached football team.”
In the third quarter, with the Bearcats down by eight,14-6, they had a solid drive down the field taking seven minutes off the clock, but stalled.
“We were running the ball well in the second half, mixing [our plays] up,” he explained. “If you take the penalties [into consideration] or take the pick-6 away and you’ve got a whole different ball game.”
Defensively, Hermann gave up 276 total offensive yards, with 225 of those on the ground. Eagle Ethan Krygiel had 108 rushing yds. for the game.
Trent Gleeson was all over the field with 14 tackles and Holden Ash had 9. Brody Fredrick had the only sack in the game.
“Our defense played pretty well,” said Coach Emmons. “We gave up more yards than we should have, but we stopped them when we needed to.”
Sullivan owned much of the fourth quarter, grinding out the yards and eating up the clock until Ethan Krygiel went across the goal line from four yds. out with 4:37 left on the clock. Their extra-point kick was good, putting the score at 21-6, Eagles game.
The Bearcats come into this Friday night’s home game against the St. Clair Bulldogs, a team currently 6-0, having scored 62 points against St. James last week. Coach Emmons says he not concerned about wins and losses so much as the knowledge they are getting better as a team.
“We’re prepping for week ten,” he says. “I don’t think there is any doubt this football team improved from this loss.”
The Bearcats will play the St. Clair Bulldogs Friday night at 7 p.m. in Bearcat Memorial Stadium.