Paonia defensive back Taylor Katzer is tackled after making an interception at Basalt in the Eagles’ season-opening game. Katzer has four interceptions this season, including two on Saturday in Paonia’s game with Centauri.
Four weeks into the season and Paonia has yet to play a home game. They also have yet to earn a win and are now 0-3 following a 7-6 loss last Saturday at Centauri.
The Eagles turned the ball over five times on fumbles and threw one interception against the Falcons. But the game was a big improvement over the previous week's 38-13 loss to Grand Valley. The team simply wasn't prepared for Grand Valley, said head coach Rienks. A lot of factors lie behind that, but ultimately, it's the responsibility of the coach to have his team ready for the game.
Quarterback Ty Coats said that against the Cardinals there was some confusion over calls, and the result was a series of poorly executed plays that left the Eagles trailing 32-6 at the half. They made some adjustments and outscored Grand Valley, 7-6, in the second half.
The team spent much of last week's practices re-working calls, said Coats.
While only one play was misread at Centauri, they couldn't overcome the turnovers.
"The bottom line," said Rienks, "is that you can't have five turnovers and one interception and win games."
Despite the loss, a lot of good things happened, said Rienks. The Centauri offense was big and pounded the Eagles with their double-wing formation. "The line did a really good job at holding them," said Rienks. Morgan Rieder led the team in tackles with 14, and Tony Darling contributed 13. Dylan Stroud and Joel Simianer both had five tackles and a sack, and Simianer also recovered a Centauri fumble.
Cornerback Taylor Katzer and safety Taylor Walters each had two interceptions.
The offense was able to move the ball well against Centauri, with Coats passing for 50 yards, Jesse Reed rushing for 96 yards and Rieder another 54. Coats connected with freshman running back Taylor Walters for 61 yards.
The longest Eagles drive of the game, 70 yards, came in the fourth quarter and was fueled by a 33-yard run by Will Austin.
The drive concluded with a four-yard touchdown run by Rieder. The Eagles failed to connect on the conversion.
"Other than turnovers, the game was definitely a step in the right direction," said Rienks.
The Eagles have two consecutive home games, beginning Saturday at 1 p.m. against Dolores. This game was originally scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m.
Paonia hasn't lost to the Bears (1-2, 0-0, Southern Peaks League) in the last four years. They played shut-out wins in 2008 (22-0) and last year (32-0) and outscored Dolores 94-21 in the games in between.
Homecoming week kicks off Monday, Sept. 24, with the annual powderpuff football game at 7 p.m., at Paonia Town Park.