Adversity, or whatever that word is
STERLING – The Newman Comets football team hadn’t faced much adversity before
Saturday’s Class 3A second-round playoff game against Monmouth-Roseville.
In fact, it’s such a foreign concept to the Comets that Nick Rude couldn’t think of the correct word while being interviewed after beating the Titans 26-14 to improve to 11-0.
Rude was trying to express that some of the tribulations set before them Saturday will help them as they progress in the playoffs.
The word just wouldn’t come. I can’t blame him. I’ve stumbled through hundreds of words since we started posting weekly videos at saukvalley.com.
The interview wasn’t the only pressure for the Comets and Rude on Saturday.
It started pretty badly. The Comets put the ball on the ground twice in their first three offensive plays. Rude had the second fumble, which Monmouth-Roseville recovered.
“The second one was mine, so that really wasn’t good,” Rude said. “We haven’t done that much this season, but it was good how we answered that. The coaches even mentioned that they were impressed with how we came back.”
The other big challenge came from Martel Hunter, the star back for the Titans. Hunter eclipsed 1,700 yards for the season during the game and finished with 23 rushing touchdowns.
But the Comets held him to 72 yards.
“We made the tackles,”
Newman linebacker Brian Bahrs said. “Everyone did their job and didn’t give him a chance to get going.”
“That’s the best defense we’ve seen all year,” Monmouth-Roseville coach Jeremy Adolphson said. “They are just so physical. We haven’t seen anything like that. They make the plays and they don’t make many mistakes.”
The mistakes were few, but evident at the end of the first half when receivers were running free downfield. The Titans completed passes of 27 and 21 yards on the drive.
“They caught us a couple times,” Newman coach Mike Papoccia said. “Sometimes you’ll get caught like that, but the other team won’t take advantage. Monmouth took advantage right before half.”
The Comets learned. In the second half, the defensive line – led by sophomore Jacob Barnes – applied too much pressure to allow the passing game to be very effective.
The Newman offense took it from there, grinding out long drives that wore down the will of the Titans.
The game made one thing pretty clear – if the Comets handle adversity (or whatever word you want to call it) this well, then they could be playing for 3 more weeks.