PLYMOUTH – It’s the old “one step forward, two steps back” for Plymouth as the offense showed signs of coming alive while the defense struggled in a 39-30 loss to Mishawaka.
“It is frustrating because we are our own worst enemy,” said Plymouth coach John Barron. “The only negative plays we had was when we couldn’t handle the snap when it was good and Jake (Reichard) could catch it and do his thing then he did his thing.”
Reichard did his thing very well indeed in a reworked Plymouth offense that saw changes not only in positions but in style. With two new running backs joining him in the backfield, the name of the game was run the football and Reichard was able to gain 167 yards, throwing for 102, with new ball carriers Colin Mills and Quentin Crawford piling up 72 yards of their own.
Able to distribute the ball into the hands of playmaker Devante Garcia (Five catches for 98 yards receiving) also gave the Rockies a spark on the offensive side of the ball.
“I’m proud of our offensive coaches,” said Barron. “It’s been such a struggle on that side of the ball. We have been very anemic. We finally took some steps forward.”
“We made a lot of changes,” he said. “It wasn’t just Jake at quarterback it was two new running backs a freshman (Anthony Popi) at right tackle, we moved a lot of people around.”
“I think the big key was putting Jake back there and allow him to be the athlete that he is.”
Reichard was able to take advantage of Crawford and Mills in the backfield and get the ball in the hands of others as well.
“Crawford and Mills ran the ball very well,” said Barron. “Our guys up front were very consistent. We had some times where we missed some blocks but you are going to have some of that with young guys against the experienced front we were going up against.”
Reichard was able to take it to the house on just the third play of the game after a big second down loss Reichard took the ball 60 yards for a score.
When the Cavemen fumbled on their first possession it looked like a great night for the Rockies. Unfortunately, the momentum would swing quickly.
The Plymouth defense, which had been a bright spot in the first half of the season fell on some tough times. First down was the biggest enemy of the Plymouth defense. The Cavemen spent most of the night in short-yardage situations on second and third down.
“I’m glad we are done defending flex bone teams,” said Barron. “We don’t see anything like that for the rest of the year. It will be nice to exhale and not have to cut people up front like we do, our linebackers being able to get some clean reads.”
“They are very good at what they do,” said Barron. “Their offensive line is massive. Their quarterback is solid. They didn’t do anything that we weren’t prepared for, they just do it very well.”
Even with the difficulties the Rockies rallied for a late score in the first half to draw within a score and had the ball at the one when time ran out in the half.
“If we could have gotten that score right before half I really think that was a key moment in the game,” said Barron. “If we can get that in there it makes them think a lot more in the second half but they take the kickoff and go right down the field and go back up two scores on us, and we are trying to play catch up the whole way.”
The Cavemen stretched the lead but the Rockies came roaring back again in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough.
“Our kids fought at the end. I was proud of the way our kids played. You could tell this loss hurt them,” said Barron. “They had that look in their eye that they were frustrated as well. It means they trust us. Our players believe in what we are doing. We practiced hard this week. We were mentally engaged in everything that we did.”
“It’s going to happen one of these weeks,” he said. “The teams we play the rest of the way are all good teams. We have to take care of ourselves and have that mentality and be great teammates.
Plymouth is 0-5 and Mishawaka goes to 1-3. Plymouth will be at home again next week to take on Wawasee.
*MISHAWAKA 39, PLYMOUTH 30
Mishawaka 8 8 8 15 – 39
Plymouth 6 8 0 16 – 30
P – 11:06 Reichard 62 yd run (Crawford, kick blocked)
M – 02:00 Fisher 13 yd run (Fisher rush)
M – 08:36 Mason 3 yd run (Hardy pass from Fisher)
P – 00:52 Reichard 1 yd run (Reichard rush)
M – 07:22 Fisher 19 yd run (Fisher rush)
M – 09:30 Mason 1 yd run (Burris pass from Fisher)
M – 07:01 Fisher 2 yd run (George kick)
P – 01:19 Mills 5 yd run (Mills rush)
P – 00:04 Reichard 14 yd run (Reichard rush)
RUSHING: Mishawaka-Fisher 19-152; Mason 23-111; Hardy 6-53; Addison 1-2; Burris 1-0; Smith 1-minus 1. Plymouth-Reichard 28-167; Mills 7-48; Crawford 5-24; Garcia,Devante 1-5; Navejar,Isaac 1-3.
PASSING: Mishawaka-Fisher 0-3-1-0. Plymouth-Reichard 6-9-0-102.
RECEIVING: Mishawaka-. Plymouth-Garcia 5-98; Sheely 1-4.
INTERCEPTIONS: Mishawaka-None. Plymouth-Garcia 1-36.
FUMBLES: Mishawaka-Fisher 1-1. Plymouth-Reichard 7-1; Garcia 1-1.