First-year Houston football coach David Williams sees it. He’s pretty certain the fans see it as well.
For two consecutive weeks, Williams said several of his players are not giving their best efforts on the field.
“I thought we didn’t play very hard at times. That bothers me,” Williams said of the Tigers’ 46-6 loss Friday night to Mountain Grove. “I’m sure people in the stands see the same thing. I just don’t understand that. I can’t say that I’ve encountered this before very much. You may have one player, but it’s more than one. It’s several of them.”
Williams had the same feeling the previous week when the Tigers (0-3, 0-3 SCA) were drilled 45-0 by Salem.
“It’s something that has to come from them. We’re doing our best to put them in position to be successful, but they’ve got to do their part,” Williams said. “It’s not everybody, but it takes everybody giving an effort if you’re going to be successful.”
It’s been an unsuccessful start to the 2010 season for Houston. After pulling within six points of Cabool in the season opener, the Tigers surrendered 105 unanswered points before quarterback Kyle Jones scooted into the end zone late in the fourth quarter against Mountain Grove. The scoring drought lasted eight quarters.
Mountain Grove scored on all seven of its offensive possessions and had 410 total yards compared to a season-low 103 for the Tigers.
Tyler Collins and George Lada had two touchdown runs apiece for the Panthers (2-1, 2-0 SCA). Collins had 173 yards on 16 carries.
Mountain Grove had little trouble scoring. The Panthers’ first three drives were three, five and four plays.
Again, Williams thought a lack of effort from his players contributed to Mountain Grove’s success.
“A couple times we were in the right spot and just didn’t tackle. It almost was like, ‘I don’t want to tackle.’ That disturbs me,” Williams said. “You can kind of tell when their heart is really not into tackling somebody. That’s not good.”
Houston’s top rushers, Kyle Jones and Jacob Case, were held to a combined 23 yards on 11 carries. Both sat out the first quarter for disciplinary reasons after missing a practice last week.
Jones was 6-of-16 passing for 56 yards. Jacob Kelley, who started for Jones, completed two of his five pass attempts for 16 yards.
Brian Hunter led the Tigers with three receptions for 26 yards.
“We still didn’t do a good job catching it sometimes,” Williams said. “We’re going to work on that this week and spend a little time on the fundamentals of catching the ball.”
After forcing Houston to punt on its first possession, the Panthers covered 91 yards in just three plays. Collins broke loose for an 80-yard touchdown run down the left sideline to make it 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
Quarterback Shaun Anderson hit Ethan Pridemore for a 42-yard score on a flea-flicker on the Panther’s second possession. The Tigers fumbled the ensuing kickoff and four plays later, Collins scored from six yards away to make it 21-0 late in the first quarter.
Lada capped a seven play, 53-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. Kicker Yegor Fedorov nailed a 29-yard field goal with 1:10 left in the half to put the Panthers ahead 31-0.
Mountain Grove continually attacked Houston outside the tackles. It was the same successful tactic used by Cabool and Salem the previous two weeks.
“Our perimeter defense is not very good,” Williams said.
Mountain Grove ran the ball six straight times to begin the third quarter and led 38-0 on Lada’s 2-yard run.
Even when things went wrong for the Panthers, they turned out right. After Chase Cramer’s 3-yard run, Mountain Grove was pushed back five yards following a false start on the PAT. Anderson mishandled the snap, but scrambled to his right and hit J.D. Dobson for a two-point conversion to make it 46-0.
Houston had two first downs — one a Panthers penalty — prior to its lone scoring drive. The Tigers covered 60 yards in 12 plays — highlighted by a 13-yard pass on fourth-and-10 from Jones to Tyler Smith — for their lone points. Jones capped the drive with a 6-yard score on a quarterback draw with 3 minutes, 44 seconds left.
“I thought we’d be farther along than this at this point,” Williams said. “We’ll just keep plugging away and try to get better. We are going to talk about the effort issue and see what we can do about it.”
MTN. GROVE 46, HOUSTON 6
Mtn. Grove 21 10 15 0 –– 46
Houston 0 0 0 6 –– 6
MG –– Collins 80 run (Miller kick), 6:58.
MG –– Pridemore 42 pass from Anderson (Miller kick), 2:39.
MG –– Collins 20 run (Miller kick), :18.
MG –– Lada 17 run (Miller kick), 8:07.
MG –– Miller 29 FG, 1:10.
MG –– Lada 2 run (Miller kick), 9:31.
MG –– Cramer 3 run (Dobson pass from Anderson), 1:47.
HOU –– Jones 6 run (pass failed), 3:44.
First downs 13 6
Total yards 410 102
Rushes-yards 34-356 16-30
Passing 54 72
Punt returns 2-16 0-0
Kickoff returns 2-27 7-85
Comp-att-int 6-10-0 8-21-0
Sacked-yards lost 0-0 0-0
Punts 0-0 5-38.6
Penalties 6-35 6-31
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
RUSHING –– Mtn. Grove, Collins 16-173, Pridemore 4-59, Lada 4-43, Anderson 3-38, Thompson 3-23, Bolin 1-11, Cramer 1-3, Healy 1-2. Houston, Case 7-12, Jones 4-11, Neagebaurer 4-7, Kelley 1-0.
PASSING –– Mtn. Grove, Anderson 5-9-0 53, Otwell 1-1-0 1. Houston, Jones 6-16-0 56, Kelley 2-5-0 16.
RECEIVING –– Mtn. Grove, Pridemore 2-46, Collins 2-7, Thompson 1-1, Dobson 1-0. Houston, Hunter 3-26, Wheeler 2-21, Smith 2-20, Bell 1-5.
“I thought we didn’t play very hard at times. That bothers me.I’m sure people in the stands see the same thing. I just don’tunderstand that. I can’t say that I’ve encountered this before verymuch. You may have one player, but it’s more than one. It’s severalof them.” – Houston coach David Williams.