South Tama County's youth and inexperience on the varsity level showed Friday night in its first football game.
The Trojans opened the season at Nevada and the loss of 17 seniors from the 2012 squad was evident. The Trojans struggled to consistently move the ball offensively and stop Nevada's rushing attack. They scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough as Nevada won the game 24-14.
"We unfortunately looked like the team I was afraid that we might look like," STC head coach Jay Hoskey said. "We have a lot of talent, but we looked young and inexperienced. We looked like we had five real seniors out there. Drew (Lacina) is a senior, but he hasn't been out for two years, so he's like a sophomore. We looked young and we're learning what intensity and focus you need to play at this level. We also made a lot of mistakes. They had 18 seniors, we had six, so that's a big difference."
South Tama committed two turnovers and allowed two long runs that proved costly in the loss. The first turnover came in the second quarter when the Trojans were threatening to score. Junior quarterback Dalton Doyle didn't see wide open senior wide receiver Tyler Martens and when pressure mounted, Doyle was hit and fumbled the ball. Nevada recovered the fumble and the Trojans' chance to tie the game at 7-7 before halftime died.
"Dalton just didn't see him," Hoskey said. "He made good reads all game, but didn't see Tyler on that one. Then he panicked a bit, got an outside rush and fumbled the ball. He was wide open and could have scored. So that was a significant play."
The second turnover came late in the game when the Trojans were trying to mount a comeback.
South Tama's two touchdowns came in the fourth quarter. Junior Bo Blocker scored on a three-yard run to cut the lead to 17-7. Senior Zach Morris caught a 61-yard pass from Doyle for the other touchdown late in the game.
"Offensive line wise, we looked good for a few plays," Hoskey said. "All it takes is one mistake and you don't look so good."
Doyle completed 16-of-23 passes for 236 yards and one touchdown. Martens caught seven passes for 112 yards to lead the Trojans' receivers. Blocker and sophomore Jerry Lowe each had nine rushes for 38 and 41 yards, respectively.
"Tyler Martens had a very good game," Hoskey said. "He played very well, especially on offense. He ran his patterns. He's going to be a good threat I think. He is well in sync with Doyle. He also runs good patterns and catches the ball when it comes to him. He's not extremely fast and he's understanding the passing game."
Nevada led 7-0 at halftime after scoring on a 12-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Nevada added scores on two-yard and eight-yard runs in the third and fourth quarters, in addition to a 45-yard field goal.
"Nevada is a good team," Hoskey said. "They expect to be good, from talking to their coaches, they expect to be a good squad."
The Trojans are working to fix their mistakes from the loss in preparation for Friday's home opener. They host Vinton-Shellsburg, who beat Benton 48-19, at 7:30 p.m.
"We had our best practice of the year yesterday," Hoskey said. "We finally got to the point where we are acknowledging the urgency. We are trying to impress on the guys the urgency. It's details and it's doing the little things that show up in a game.
"We're going to be a much better team as we go along," he said. "I just hope it doesn't take us too long to get better."