The football players at Red Bank Regional High School blame only themselves for their 0-2 start to this season.
The Buccaneers fell to Matawan Regional High School, 20-7, in their home opener on Sept. 15.
“We need to prepare ourselves better,” Red Bank Regional junior defensive lineman Kashaun Turner said. “We practiced bad this week, and we could have prepared ourselves better. We have to come out stronger. We have to wrap up better. We have to execute. Our offensive line has to get a push up front. Our defensive line needs to get more pressure. Our defensive backs can’t get beat. We all have to do better, including myself.”
The Buccaneers were down, 14-0, at halftime on the strength of two touchdown runs by Matawan back DeVonte Spann.
But Red Bank Regional cut into Matawan’s lead when junior running back Nigel Mitchell took off and dashed 85 yards to the end zone in the third quarter.
“It felt pretty good,” Mitchell said. “I just wish we came out with the ‘W.’ Unfortunately, we didn’t. So it matters, but it also doesn’t matter. It goes down in the books, but with a loss and not a win.”
Mitchell had hoped that his touchdown would be the spark to turn the game around, but Spann came through with his third touchdown to ice the victory for Matawan. Spann ended with 195 yards rushing on the evening.
“[In the] second half, we came out and started blocking more, and we scored,” Mitchell said. “But then they came back with another touchdown, and that just brought the whole team down. Nobody was motivated anymore. Everybody dropped their heads, and there was no more motivation.”
Mitchell and Turner refuse to give up on the young season.
“We’re a good team,” Mitchell said. “We just still have to form ourselves. We’re not all the way joined together. We have form ourselves, and once we do that, we’ll be fine.”
“We have to come together as a full team,” Turner said. “We’re one, but we have to be tighter, like brothers are supposed to be. Once we do that, we’ll make the playoffs.”
The Buccaneers will try to bounce back when they host a strong Saint John Vianney High School team on Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.
St. John Vianney improved to 2-0 when it cruised to a 55-7 victory over Raritan High School on Sept. 15. Matawan was pounded by St. John Vianney, 69-7, on Sept. 8.