It was not a result Robbinsdale Cooper has been accustomed to in the last decade, but it gives an opportunity to show how well the Hawks will respond on Oct. 11 against Irondale.
Cooper’s (4-2 overall) 35-0 loss to Class 4A third-ranked Benilde-St. Margaret’s (6-0) on Oct. 4 was the first time the Hawks were shut out since Oct. 22, 2013, in a section game at Spring Lake Park. It was the first time it happened in the regular season since Oct. 14, 2011, also against Spring Lake Park.
But what matters is what happens during the next week of practice and on the field against the Knights in week 7, coach Willie Howard said.
Howard said that results like this aren’t tough to take, because this is football.
“We’ve been on the winning side, and now we’ve been on the losing side and that’s part of football, and it part of our responsibility as a team to learn how to bounce back – to utilize this game and be able to get back into the film and see what we did right and see what we did wrong,” Howard said.
The goal is to finish 1-0 every week, and that’s a coaching strategy to push players to not overlook an opponent and to not feel sorry for themselves after a loss. And that’s also one of the reasons that Howard never mentions sections or state until the time comes or whether the team is going to go undefeated.
“We have a good Irondale team that has been in some tough jams the last couple of weeks, but again, we have to remind ourselves that they beat us last year,” Howard said. “They tried to put together a formula. We are not looking past that, saying the word section, because we have to go 1-0 to put ourselves in a position to figure that out when it’s time.
“We have DeLaSalle after that. Every game is a game where we need to go in prepared to go 1-0. If not, we are going to be in for a long season.”
Irondale (2-4) defeated Cooper 41-13 in week 8 last season to hand the Hawks their first loss of 2018.
The Knights had 411 yards rushing in that game and held the advantage in time of possession. BSM had a similar game plan, outrushing the Hawks 123-2 in the first half and 102-16 in the second half.
“We didn’t win this game [against BSM],” Howard said. “We didn’t go 1-0, but we have an opportunity to go 1-0 next week if we put in the work we need to do that.”
BSM 35, Cooper 0
Winning at the line of scrimmage was not the norm for Cooper in the 35-0 loss to BSM.
The Hawks couldn’t get much going on the ground, and when they did, a holding penalty took away a first down or a big gain.
“Realistically, there were some plays we absolutely dominated, and there’s many more plays that they dominated,” Howard said. “They won up front, and if you don’t win in the trenches, you don’t win football games.”
The Red Knights opened the game with seven runs to one pass and gained 51 yards, all on the ground, with a 4-yard touchdown by senior Joe Marinaro to cap the drive.
Sophomore Camden Royal added a 7-yard touchdown run for BSM to make it 14-0 before halftime.
BSM threw just 11 passes in the game with senior Nick Peterson going 8-for-11 for 148 yards. He had a 10-yard touchdown pass to junior George Wolfe in the third quarter and an interception in the first quarter, where Cooper senior defensive back Reshawn Keten made a nice play on a deep ball near the right sideline.
Peterson also lost a fumble, which was recovered by senior defensive lineman Kellen Andler in the second half, but he capped the game with a 5-yard touchdown run before slam dunking the ball over the field-goal crossbar and earning an unsportsmanlike penalty.
Junior William Petty added a 3-yard touchdown run.
The Hawks longest run in the first half was three yards, although sophomore quarterback Joe Russell had a 12-yard gain that would have made it first-and-goal on the 7-yard line called back for holding near the end of the first half.
That drive also had a third-and-2 run stopped for a loss on the Red Knights’ 12-yard line.
There were several opportunities to score, including that drive which ended with an incomplete pass in the end zone.
The Hawks also drove into the red zone in the fourth quarter before losing a fumble inside the 15-yard line, and they also drove to the BSM 27-yard line late in the fourth quarter with Joe Russell hitting seniors Joseph Law and Cornelius Wooten on 8- and 5-yard completions and then hitting freshman David Connors on a 10-yard completion.
Terrence Matthews also had a 12-yard rush on the drive, which was the longest of the night for Cooper.
But two holding penalties and a personal foul suddenly made it second-and-39, and even after a 20-yard pass from Joe Russell to Wooten, the drive ended in a turnover on downs.
“Any time you start feeling sorry for yourself, you are going to be undisciplined and that’s what happened,” Howard said. “I want our kids to see if you are undisciplined, you are going to get your butt kicked. And today, what happened is that the discipline on their side was more dominant. They took care of the little things.”
Howard added that the Hawks need to finish drives as that could have changed the momentum, and the defense also missed on a few plays – going the wrong way on one play call that resulted in a gain when it might have been a loss.
“If we finish and execute the little things, it’s a different game,” he said. “They executed. They did Benilde-style football, and because they did what they were supposed to do, they got the W.”