Cromwell frustrated by Coginchaug on Thanksgiving

The Panthers couldn’t catch a break, as Cromwell lost the Second Annual Homes for the Brave Bowl by a whopping 50-0 to Coginchaug on Nov. 27. Cromwell had lost last year’s match, 35-6, but couldn’t get an ounce of redemption for 2014.

Cromwell coach Chris Eckert said that as he and his players arrived in Durham Thanksgiving morning, they were asked to help clear the field of snow. Eventually, the job was done by volunteers from Region 13 as well as Cromwell, but Eckert said it was one of a host of frustrations that lead to a bad day for Cromwell.

“Our kids get frustrated with schedule changes,” he said. “When you get off the bus and get asked to have your team clear the field, that’s not a good circumstance to begin with.”

Coginchaug scored early and often, beginning just 1:19 into the game, when fleet-footed quarterback Jake Ober took the snap on the fourth play from scrimmage and ran it in for a 46-yard touchdown. On the Blue Devils’ next possession, Ober had a 50-yard run that set up an 8-yard score by running back Cam Powers, with just under six minutes to go in the first quarter.

Mid-second quarter (7:13), it was Ober again, who capped a long Blue Devil drive with a 10-yard score.

Cromwell’s first (and essentially only) highlight of the game was late in the second quarter, when the defense was able to stop Coginchaug at the 7-yard line, but the Panthers still went into the locker room down 20-0.

The second half wasn’t any kinder for Cromwell. Coginchaug’s Devin Rodrigue intercepted a Jarius Bailey pass and ran it back 82 yards to make the score 28-0. On Cromwell’s next play from scrimmage Nelson Carson lost a fumble on the end of a long run, and Coginchaug was able to convert that turnover into a touchdown two plays later, on a 20-yard scamper by Parker Tregoning, to continue the rout, 34-0.

Coginchaug tacked on another TD with its running game to start the fourth, and then after another Coginchaug interception, two players got into a scuffle. The Coginchaug bench cleared, but Cromwell’s players wisely stayed put, and the Blue Devils got a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Ultimately, that didn’t matter, as the Blue Devils tacked on another touchdown run by Ober with 3:25 to go, this time from 9 yards out, and covered the two-point conversion to reach the half centrury mark. Final score, 50-0.

Eckert said his team was simply outmatched.

“We’ve got 22 total kids, and we play maybe 14 or 15,” he said. “We don’t have the numbers. We don’t have substitutions, and we’ve got to play freshmen. When they have more seniors than you have total players, you’re not going to win the football game.”

Eckert said there were positives from this season, including the Panthers’ 6-5 record. “Anytime you finish over .500, it’s a positive. We’ve got 11 starters on offense and 11 starters on defense coming back, but we just need more people on the team.”

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