Offense struggles on road in Water Valley’s first loss of the season

Published 10:35 pm Friday, September 20, 2019

CALHOUN CITY – The Water Valley Blue Devils needed a little kick in the behind to get their offensive gears in motion on the road on Friday night.

The defense did the work multiple times to provide that spark, but the team was simply never able to find themselves offensively.

Water Valley (3-1) dropped their first game of the season on Friday night at Calhoun City (3-2), 14-7. It was their first loss since October 2018.

“The season’s not over,” head coach Brad Embry said. “Nobody ever wants that. But sometimes those things help you get better. We’re going to use it as that. We’re going to use that as motivation to do things better.”

Many of the Blue Devil struggles early were self-inflicted. Senior quarterback Jacob Truss threw two interceptions in the first half and the Wildcats had fantastic field position for nearly the entire half, leading to 14 quick points.

But momentum shifted in Water Valley’s favor toward the end of the first half. After one of Truss’ first-half interceptions set Calhoun City up with great field position inside their own red-zone, the Water Valley defense provided the spark the team spent the entire opening thirty minutes looking for. With the ball lined up on the Water Valley two-yard line, Calhoun City faced a fourth and goal to go into half up 21-7. Instead, The Wildcats rushed right and were stopped by two Blue Devils. The turnover on downs allowed Water Valley to go into the half down just seven. The problem is, the Blue Devils were never able to make it closer.

For the most part, Water Valley was able to stifle Calhoun City’s rushing attack. The Water Valley coaching staff knew the running game was coming in heavy doses, and most of the night they were successful in stopping it. In addition, Calhoun City completed just three passes all night. The problem is that all three resulted in big plays, one completion coming in the form of a 34-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter.

The Blue Devil defense did their part, but the offense was unable to get anything going on the road. In a game with so much running of the ball, offensive possessions were at a premium. Water Valley was simply unable to get into any sort of rhythm on that side of the football. Throwing the ball was especially unsuccessful for the team, with Truss completing just five passes in the game and throwing three interceptions.

“They were really sound defensively. They were sound and they were fast,” Embry said. “They’re a talented team, but we have to score more than seven points. And that’s on me. Our defense played hard and they gave great effort. We just have to do things better all-around and score more points. You’re not going to win a lot of games scoring seven points, and like I said that part is on me.”

Three distinct times in the second half, the Blue Devil offense took over with a short field to work with after big defensive stops. All three times they turned the ball over on downs. Despite all the struggles, Water Valley got chances late. Like they did all night, the defense came up big, forcing a fumble with 3:46 remaining in the game. Four plays later, Truss threw his third interception. The offense would see the ball one final time with under one minute remaking, but ran out of time driving for the game-tying touchdown.

The loss drops Water Valley to 3-1 on the season. They continue the stretch of road games next week with a trip to Winona.