By Kevin Schrock
Three first quarter interceptions set the tone for one of the worst starts to a game Findlay has seen in a while. On Saturday in Detroit, MI the Oilers dropped a heartbreaker to the Wayne State Warriors 31-26. It marked the fifth Oiler loss in the last six games.
Despite the Findlay struggles on offense early on the defense was doing their best to keep them in the game. Findlay held the Warriors to only three points in the first quarter despite the three interceptions. However, as the first half was drawing to a close the Oilers found themselves down 17-0.
“We played a lot of snaps on defense there early on,” said Findlay coach Rob Keys. “That’s a young defense you’re sending out there but I thought they played as well as they have all year.”
Finally, the Oilers managed to string together a promising drive. On a 10- play 75-yard drive, Rhys Gervais connected with Daiquone Ford for a two-yard touchdown pass to bring the score to within 17-7.
“That drive was crucial for us to cut it to 10 points,” said Keys. “If we come up empty there it’s going to make things much more difficult for us in the second half.”
The second half start did a complete flip-flop from the first half. The Oilers got a field goal and a touchdown and just like that the score was tied up at 17. The Oilers couldn’t keep it that way.
A late third quarter touchdown by the Warriors got the score back to 24-17 before another Tyler Bugeja field goal for Findlay made it 24-20.
The struggle for the Oilers was quickly becoming their inability to run the ball. They had to become a pass heavy offense with nothing getting done on the ground.
“When we aren’t able to run the ball it just puts more pressure on everyone,” added Keys. “We just can’t line up and throw the ball every time.”
The Oilers dug their hole a little deeper when they allowed another Wayne State touchdown with 6:26 to go making the score 31-20. The Oilers weren’t out of it just yet, but with the offensive struggles things were looking bleak.
Still, Gervais marched the squad right down the field and found Alex Long in the end zone for a touchdown with 3:46 left on the clock. After the two-point conversion failed it was 31-26 Wayne State.
With a few timeouts left the Oilers needed one more big stop from their defense to give them another shot at the win. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. A costly offside penalty gave the Warriors the first down they needed to run the clock out.
“It’s touch to end the game that way especially with how well the defense played,” said Keys. “You also always like to see a player decide the outcome of a game rather then a call like that.”
With the loss the Oilers drop to 4-5 overall and 3-5 in the GLIAC. They have two more games left, both of which will take place at home where they are 2-1 on the year. They will next be in action Saturday when they take on Malone at noon.