Following two straight disappointing showings, Chris Edwards is ready to make changes.
Edwards said Saturday morning – barely12 hours after the Houston Tigers were thumped by Thayer 40-13 in their home opener – he would make adjustments to his team that is off to a 0-2 start with a pair of blowout losses.
But no matter what changes, Edwards said Houston (0-2) must find some way to snap the mentality the accompanies a12-game losing funk dating back to last year’s winless season. Edwards is still seeing ill effects from the 0-10 campaign of 2006 under Josh Gettler.
“We’ve got some bad habits that are what happens when you get on a losing streak like this,” Edwards said. “Until we break those habits, we will struggle to be competitive.”
The Tigers put up a strong fight against third-ranked Marionville in the season opener, trailing just 14-0 entering the fourth quarter. But Houston tired down the stretch against the Comets in a 30-0 defeat and gave up the game’s first 40 points to Thayer in a romp the Bobcats (2-0) controlled from the get-go.
Tailback Michael Lowther led Thayer’s punishing ground attack that averaged eight yards a carry with four touchdowns. He racked up 253 yards on 23 carries as the Bobcats, who ran the ball on all but five of their plays, simply lined up and pounded the ball at Houston with its attack of veer options.
Edwards said he knew what was coming. The players knew what was coming. But the Tigers couldn’t stop it.
“I’m just really disappointed in our lack of execution,” Edwards said. “We get eight or nine kids to do their job and then one or two won’t it seems like on every play. Until we get all 11 of them to do what they’re coached to do, we’re going to struggle.”
A mostly negative night ended positively for the Tigers, who after going scoreless the first 94 minutes of the season twice found paydirt in a 26-second span.
Sophomore Brad Pounds gave Houston its first points of the season when he caught a short pass in the left flat and sprinted 20 yards untouched into the end zone with 1:28 to go. The Tigers recovered a fumble on Thayer’s next play and scored again when 6-foor-3 wideout Ty Scheets hauled in a high-arcing pass over his defender for a 37-yard score.
“It’s obviously good to put some points on the board,” Edwards said. “It lets the kids know that they can be successful if they execute.”
Quarterback David Weybright completed 12 of his final 14 pass attempts as he finished 24-of-36 for 207 yards. Scheets led six different players who caught passes with nine receptions for 100 yards. Dalton Wilson had five catches for 45 yards, and Pounds had four receptions for 32 yards.
Sophomore Justin Schmidt got the Tigers’ running game going after starter Kirk Pierce was limited to defensive duties only with a leg strain. Schmidt gained 53 yards on 14 carries and Houston, which mustered just 16 positive rushing yards in Week 1, had 81 against Thayer.
The performance might have been enough to make Schmidt Houston’s featured back.
“Justin did a nice job,” Edwards said. “He ran hard, has good vision and he’s a little elusive back there. He can make some things happen that our other backs can’t just because of his running style.”
With Schmidt potentially getting the starting nod in the backfield, Edwards is considering moving Pierce to the offensive line. More moves may follow.
“We’ll try to get a little better up front,” Edwards said. “Right now we’re struggling.”
Thayer quarterback Jacob Eckman, who was 4-of-5 passing for 96 yards, hit Luke Martin over the middle for a 35-yard score late in the first quarter. Lowther had 24- and 19-yard touchdown runs in the second quarter to put the Bobcats ahead 21-0 at the half.
Lowther and Eckman had rushing touchdowns in the third, and Lowther added a 75-yard scamper in the fourth before Houston’s late tallies.
“It’s better to score than get shutout,” Edwards said. “That’s about the only positive to it.”