Second half mistakes plague Cubs in loss

September 5, 2017

By Brian Brisendine, News Editor

The Brownfield Cubs got off on the right foot early in their season opener with Clyde, but in the second half, that right foot turned into two left feet as mistakes, penalties, and turnovers proved too costly and the Bulldogs claimed the Week 1 win, 49-32.

Taking the field for the first time under new head coach Jeff Smith, the Cubs took advantage of several breaks in the first half, including a pair of touchdowns after picking up their own fumbles – one in the end zone and another resulting in a 60 yard run to the goal line.

But the luck and the momentum shifted drastically after intermission, with all the breaks and several calls going Clyde’s way.

Frustration got the best of the Cubs and their coach in the fourth quarter as tempers began to flare and flags began to fly.

Coach Smith took ownership of the mistakes in a post-game interview with the Brownfield News.

“We had some things go our way early, but then we let adversity get to us later on,” he said. “I’ll take the blame for this one. Thankfully, the things we did wrong are all things we can fix, so we’re going to learn from our mistakes and move on. When it got tough tonight, we dropped our heads and let it snowball. We have to learn to play through that.”

It appeared to be Brownfield’s night through the first half.

The Cubs got on the board early with a keeper to the right side by quarterback Jaelyn Nolan, followed by a quick two-point conversion to Nunie Ramirez for an 8-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.

The Brownfield defense held strong on Clyde’s first possession, forcing a punt on a fourth-and-long situation, then taking just two more minutes to find the end zone again.

The second score of the night came on a short pass and run from quarterback Brock Sires to wide receiver Chuy Garza on the left side. A 2-point conversion attempt failed, giving the Cubs a 14-0 lead with 7:43 to go in the first quarter.

Clyde answered with an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to narrow the gap to 14-7.

Brownfield worked their next possession into the red zone and narrowly avoided disaster when a fumble on the 2-yard line bounced into the end zone where Cubs lineman Ethan Sanchez jumped on the loose ball for another touchdown and a 20-7 lead with 3:24 left in the first.

Only two minutes later, the Bulldogs found the end zone again and added the PAT to trail, 20-14.

Brownfield fought their way back to the red zone as the first quarter came to a close, then punched it in with a short carry from Chili Morin for another Cubs touchdown.

With just over six minutes to go in the half, a broken play turned into a scoring opportunity when Adrian Martinez scooped a Cubs fumble and raced it 60 yards for the touchdown.

Another 2-point conversion attempt proved fruitless when Morin was forced out of bounds only inches from the goal line plane.

Unfortunately, it would be Brownfield’s final score of the game. The Cubs defense held strong for the remainder of the half, keeping the Bulldogs out of the end zone as time ran out.

The second half was another story entirely.

A flag for blocking in the backfield brought a 70-yard touchdown run by Jaelyn Nolan back.

Then a fumble cost the Cubs the ball inside the 10 yard line.

Clyde turned both mishaps into scores on the resulting possessions, swinging the game’s momentum against the Cubs.

The Bulldogs scored with a QB keeper at the 9:15 mark and again with under three minutes in the third frame.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Cubs maintained their fragile lead, 32-28.

But it wasn’t long before Clyde once again found ways to get into the end zone and eventually wore the Cubs down for the 49-32 victory.

Coach Smith said his team would be back at work in practice this week to prepare for Friday’s road trip match-up with the Midland Greenwood Rangers. The Rangers topped Snyder, 14-7 in their season opener.

Friday’s game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in King Memorial Stadium at Greenwood.

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