Effort not enough as Mamou falls to Oberlin in opener
MAMOU – Despite a much better effort in the second half, the Mamou Demons could not overcome the grinding running game of the Oberlin Tigers, as the Demons fell to the Tigers 22-0 here Thursday night.
The Tigers racked up 237 yards of rushing on 37 attempts, scoring twice on the ground and once through the air in the win. The Demons finished the night with 137 yards in the running game, with almost all of those yards coming in the second half of play. Mamou will travel to Basile Friday night for a non-district match-up.
“I saw a ton of improvement from the first half to the second half tonight,” Mamou head coach Dwight Collins said after the game. “But, we still can’t hurt ourselves. We need to make sure we are blocking and tackling. We need to move the ball more efficiently and pick up first downs to give ourselves some confidence. We are a young football team right now and we are paying for it by making critical mistakes at inopportune times.”
One of those mistakes led to the first points of the game for the Oberlin Tigers. After receiving the opening kickoff, Mamou was unable to move the ball past the first down sticks and was forced to punt the ball away. A break down in protection allowed the Tiger special teams to block the punt at the Demon 19-yard line.
Three plays later, running back Collin Chatman plunged in from four yards out to pick up the Oberlin touchdown. The extra point drifted wide right, but with 9:38 left to go in the first half, the Tigers took the early 6-0 lead.
After another failed Mamou drive, the Tigers took over possession at their 22-yard line. Oberlin drove the ball up to their 44-yard line, when the Demon defense bowed up and forced a fourth and 13 situation. On the punt attempt by the Tigers, punter Jared Joubert dropped to a knee trying to field the snap, giving the ball to Mamou at the Oberlin 33-yard line.
Attempting to capitalize on the excellent field position, the Demons reached the Tiger 20-yard line where they faced a third and eight situation. But, once again, a critical Mamou mistake cost the Demons, as quarterback Justin Fontenot was picked off by cornerback Justin Rider, who returned it back to the 35-yard line.
The two teams exchanged possessions throughout most of the second quarter, with the Tigers controlling the line of scrimmage and the game. An Oberlin punt late in the quarter put the Demons in the shadow of their goal line at the 17-yard line. That is when the wheels began to fall off of the Mamou offense.
Three bad snaps and a false start penalty later, the Tiger defense produced the next points of the night when they fell on Fontenot in the end zone for the safety. So, with 1:42 left to go in the second quarter, Oberlin led Mamou 8-0.
Getting the ball back on the free kick following the safety, the Tigers wasted very little time putting up more points. Starting at the Demon 43-yard line, Oberlin drove the ball down the field in five plays, scoring on a six yard pass from Levi Pelloquin to Marcel Frilot with 28 seconds to go in the half. The two-point pass attempt failed, however the Tigers pushed their lead to 14-0 heading into the locker room.
Mamou hoped to pick up some much needed momentum heading into the third quarter, but the first few minutes were not kind to the Demons. Taking the second half kickoff, Oberlin needed only three plays to drive 61 yards for their next score. Starting at the Mamou 39-yard line, the Tigers chewed up 35 yards on the first play of the possession on a sweep left by Rider.
Two run plays later, Rider stood in the end zone after a one yard dive over the goal line. Pelloquin jaunted in for the two-point conversion, giving Oberlin a 22-0 lead with 10:28 left in the quarter.
However, Mamou did not fold. Mixing up their offense the rest of the half, the Demons were able to put together some impressive drives, getting the ball down inside the Tiger 10-yard line twice. Nevertheless, penalties killed those drives, forcing Mamou to try and convert on fourth and goal both times; something that they could not do.
“This week was big for us, because we had to be able to put together four quarters,” said Collins. “The good thing for us is no body cramped up. That means that we are in good condition. The big thing for us are the mental things that are stopping us from making plays. I am hoping to mature a lot faster and we are going to continue repping it at practice to make sure we are doing the things to move the ball and stop the ball.”