HALE – Hale got the stops it needed on defense late in its home 8-man non-conference football game with Peck Friday night. The Eagles weren’t able to get the scores they needed from their offense, however, as a late fumble all but ended their hopes of a win, in the closely contested 20-14 setback.
“A really competitive game for the entirety of it,” head coach Grant Kortman said. “I thought we played hard, like we have most of the season but we just had too many turnovers and that hurt us a lot. We got the ball inside the 10-yard line with about four minutes to go.”
That drive ate up nearly the entire fourth quarter, as Hale began on its own 38-yard line with 11:11 to play. The Eagles used a good mix of runs by Brandon Maddox, Zach Koepke and Robert Rosebrugh, to get a first-and-goal at the seven yard-line.
That drive came to a halt on first-and-goal, however, when a dropped hand-off sent the ball back into the hands of the Pirates with 4:26 left to play, and though Hale did get the ball back with just over a minute to play, it was unable to pose another serious scoring threat.
“Offensively, I thought when we weren’t turning the ball over we were able to run it really well,” Kortman said. “Brandon had a great game and had a big special teams touchdown for us early in the game. Defensively, I thought a lot of our guys stepped up and played great games. Landen Caverly, Mike Koepke and Jeff Guoan all did a great job. We really did a good job shutting them down, in the second half especially.”
Most of the scoring was done in the first quarter. Hale had a 64-yard kick-off return for a touchdown by Maddox, and a Rosebrugh a 14-yard touchdown pass to Gage Kangas to lead 16-14, a margin it held into the half.
Peck scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown in the third, and made the points stand despite several chances for the Eagles.
“We were moving the ball, just had a couple key moments there where we turned the ball over and it cost us,” Kortman said. “The message to the team was we just played the two toughest teams we will face until we get to the playoffs. We know we can play with these teams, we were just a couple plays away. We just need to fix those mistakes and find our groove now that we are coming into conference play.”
Rosebrugh finished with 16 tackles rushes for 84 yards to lead the ground game, Zach Koepke had 66 yards on 13 carries and Maddox ran 10 times for 56 yards. Rosebrugh was two-of-11 passing for 16 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Kangas had the 14-yard touchdown reception and Maddox had a two-yard reception.
Maddox also had a big game on defense, getting 15 tackles, Rosebrugh took down 13, Z. Koepke had 11 takedowns and Guoan had nine tackles.
Hale (1-2 overall, 1-0 NSL) heads to Atlanta (1-2, 1-2) on Friday. The Huskies are coming off a 50-6 loss to Hillman last week.