Bowling scores 3 TDs to lead Coalfield
By Goose Lindsay
The Coalfield Yellow Jackets ran their season record to 3-0 Saturday following a 50-28 victory at Sunbright.
“It was a different week playing on Saturday. It was different preparing;” Coalfield head coach Keith Henry said. “I’m proud of our guys. We won a region game and a county rivalry game. We’ve probably played and executed better at times, which is hard to say when you put 50 points on the board, but we’ve got to get to work and correct a few mistakes.”
The game was played on Saturday due to COVID-19 restrictions at Sunbright. The Tigers had several players test positive or were quarantined as a precaution and that left less than 10 players at practice until Friday.
“Obviously this wasn’t an ideal situation for us,” Sunbright head coach Brian Hamby said. “ We have a lack of depth because of numbers and then you get shut down for two weeks. How can you prepare for a game when you don’t have enough to line up an offense or defense? We did the best we could, but the time off killed us.”
“I respect Sunbright and their coaching staff for being off a couple of weeks and playing a football game with only practicing yesterday and maybe a walk-thru today,” Henry added. “Give their guys credit, they played hard.”
The Jackets put the game away early, scoring three touchdowns on three of their first four possessions.
Seth Lowe scored the first touchdown on 6-yard run. Quarterback Cole Hines followed with a 15-yard scoring strike to Landon Lowe then Canaan Bowling scored on a 38-yard run to give Coalfield a 24-0 lead with 5:34 left in the first half.
Coalfield’s next two points came on a safety following a bad punt snap then Seth Lowe returned the ensuing free kick 62 yards for a score to give the Jackets a 32-0 lead at halftime.
To Sunbright’s credit, the Tigers fought back in the second half.
QB John Wayne Freels scored on a 47-yard run two plays into the third period then the Tigers used a 5-yard run from Houston Bryant on their next possession to close the gap to 32-14 with 8:55 to play in the third quarter.
“Playing for pride was what the halftime talk was about,” Hamby said. “Using the second half as one, an opportunity to not give up and to keep fighting. We could easily quit and it could have been 60 or 70 to nothing so it was encouraging to see that. Wish we could have had more of that in the first half, but we were so fatigued.”
Coalfield opened the second half with a lot of reserves on the field, but Sunbright’s two quick scored led to the Jackets reinserting their starters.
The Jackets answered with a 6-play, 59-yard scoring drive that ended in a 31-yard run from Bowling to make the score 38-14 with 5:55 remaining in the third quarter.
There would be no further scoring until the final 6:24 of the game when the teams combined for four touchdowns.
Sunbright scored on a 1-yard run from Bryant and a 43-yard pass from Freels to Cole Branstetter.
Coalfield found the end zone on a 36-yard run from Bowling and a 32-yard interception return from Michael Landrum.
Bowling ended the evening with 134 yards rushing and three TDs on only eight carries.
“Canaan’s got some speed and quickness,” Henry said. “He had a good night with some good runs. It’s good to have multiple athletes to work with.”
Coalfield hosts Oakdale (3-1) Friday night at Rochelle Field.
“That will be a big game,” Henry said. “Oakdale is rolling into Coalfield and I know they’re excited. They had a big win at Wartburg and they’ll be ready to play.”
Sunbright (1-1) hosts Harriman (1-3).
“Harriman is loaded with athletes and they have some good offensive linemen… It’s another challenge and we’re going to have to have a good week and we’re going to have to put together four quarters of football and not wait till halftime to decide we want to play a little bit,” Hamby said.