PLYMOUTH — The offensive woes at home continued for Plymouth’s Rockies on a night when the school’s 1977 undefeated state champions were honored. They were shut out at the Rockpile by Concord 17-0.
Plymouth has not scored at home in eight quarters and it’s a fact that is not lost on anybody on the Plymouth sideline.
“We need to find a way to find an offensive rhythm and where our kids can execute what we call,” said Plymouth head coach John Barron. “Our execution problems were simple: Non-reads that were not the correct reads. That (Concord) is a good football team tonight. That’s what our kids need to hear. We can win a sectional. We can win the rest of our games but we have to get back to having a little bit more confidence offensively – us getting sustained drives and getting the ball into the hands of guys who can score. It’s frustrating for our players; it’s frustrating for us too. Our expectation has to be that we can do that.”
The Rockies were unable to do that for a second game as key moments turned sour several times. Plymouth had a very nice drive on its second possession turned away without points inside the five. Two key penalties changed the game as well – not in the Rockies’ favor.
Late in the first half a big run by Braxton Bennitt came back courtesy of a holding call and then in the second half, a moment that could have turned the ball over to the Rockies turned into a momentum changer with an interference call on third and a very long distance.
“We had two big penalties that hurt us tonight,” said Barron. “I don’t typically point out penalties as really key in the ball game but the holding penalty on their sideline was a really big call. We’re down 10 to nothing with the big run by Bennitt close to the 20 yard line going in with plenty of time left. It ended up being a 45-yard penalty. It was a killer.”
“And then the penalty with the interference – and obviously we didn’t see them that way. They don’t have replay out there but there were two really big calls that went against us that were really momentum changers.”
Still Plymouth found a way to keep Concord out of the end zone for the most part. The defense was again up to the challenge of a Concord offense that was relentless. A Minuteman front line that averaged 260 pounds battered away at the Rockies undersized defense which used quickness and relentless approach of their own to hold the line.
“Our kids were getting frustrated and there’s nothing you can do but play though it and that’s difficult at times,” said Barron. “It starts to add up especially when it’s a close ball game and you have two good teams.”
“They do it differently but I think (Concord) coach (Craig) Koehler has taken a page out of the Plymouth book,” said Barron. “He understands that they have big kids and they do what they do with what they have. Their offensive line is enormous. They have physical running backs and they have a couple of quarterbacks that can run the ball. We’ve seen them maul people.”
“I was very proud of our defense. They played a lot of minutes,” said Barron. “Braxton Bennitt didn’t come off the field tonight; Nate LaFree didn’t come off the field tonight. You worry about kids playing that many snaps but I’m proud of them.”
Still it’s a week of going back to the drawing board as Goshen comes in to Plymouth next week for Homecoming.
“The two teams we’ve played that played us well are good teams, I felt very good playing Concord tonight,” said Barron. “I thought our kids were ready to go. They kept pounding away. We didn’t quit. And thats the sign of a good team. I’m confident in the kids and our staff that we’ll get this going in the right direction. I have to get them believing in what we’re doing. We’ve been shut out twice at home and I never would have believed it, with the firepower we have on offense.”
Plymouth is 5-2 with a game against Goshen at home next week. Unbeaten Concord will meet unbeaten Northridge for what could be the conference title.
• Concord 17, Plymouth
Score by Quarter
Plymouth 0 0 0 0 – 0
Concord 0 10 7 0 – 17
C – FG Josh Gorball 22 Yd
C – TD Damien Jackson 16 Yd Pass From Ethan Cain (Josh Gorball Kick)
C- TD Jack Lietzan 3 Yd Run (Josh Gorball Kick)
Rushing – (Plymouth 54 carries 212) Nixon 4-100, Filson 14-42, Davis 16-46, Bennitt 7-23, Barron 3-2. (Concord 40 carries for 111) DeBroka 15-98, Lietzan 13-71, Cain 10-20.
Passing – Cole Filson 2-7, 19 yards, Joe Barron 1-4 5 yards INT. Ethan Cain 7-14 111 yards INT, TD.
Receiving – Jackson 5-72 TD. Nixon 2-16.
Tackles – Winkle 10.