By TONY STINNETT Courier Sports Editor
CARTHAGE - It would be tough enough to beat Smith County playing a solid football game; however, Cannon County created bigger problems for itself with seven turnovers in a 54-0 setback against the Owls here Friday (Oct. 18).
Freshman quarter Josh Walkup earned his second straight start but was guilty of five interceptions and a fumble. The Lions added another turnover and also lost an onside kick to start the game.
“We just made too many mistakes to have a chance to beat a team like Smith County,” Cannon County first-year Head Coach T.J. Daniel said. “Josh made good reads and did what he was supposed to do in many instances but we just had the turnovers. That is going to happen with young players but we learn from our mistakes and keep going. Josh, and our team, will be fine.”
Walkup did have good moments and had several completions to A.J. Daniel, Jake Walkup and Ethan Smith; however, the Lions (1-7, 0-4) were not able to sustain drives against the tough Owl defense.
Cannon County’s best drive came late in the first quarter with the Lions trailing 14-0.
Cannon County gained possession at its 21 and marched to the Smith County 42 before the drive stalled. The Lions put together 13 plays and took more than five minutes off of the clock but when the drive stopped Cannon County had difficulty putting any more like it together.
Key plays in the drive were third-down completions to Jake Walkup and A.J. Daniel. The Lions converted three third-downs on the drive and seemed to have things moving in the right direction.
“That was one of our better drives and it came against a good defense,” Coach Daniel said. “It showed that when we do execute we can do some good things. We just didn’t execute enough.”
Although the Lions surrendered 54 points it is hard to pin it all on defensive breakdowns given the fact the offense had seven turnovers and Smith County scored on two of the interceptions. They turned six of the turnovers into points in all.
“We didn’t have a great deal of defensive standout plays but we kept putting our defense in bad situations after the turnovers,” Coach Daniel said. “That puts the defense in a bind.”
The Lions will have to regroup this week as they play host to York Friday.
Cannon County is on Fall Break this week and plays its final two games at the friendly confines of Schwartz Field.