The Wolverines led twice during their first road game of the fall, but ultimately could not keep pace with the host Cougars in a 34-21 loss.
Despite being ahead 14-13 at halftime, the Windermere Wolverines were unable to maintain that lead as they succumbed to the University Cougars 34-21 in east Orange County Sept. 7.
With 24 seconds remaining in the first half, the Wolverines (0-2) retook the lead on a seven-yard touchdown run from Austin Hatcher. The score was Hatcher’s second of the game, as he scored from eight yards out in the first quarter.
“We were fortunate to be up 14-13 at the half,” Windermere head coach Fred Priest stated. “We made way too many mistakes early — we’re still turning the ball over way too much. I know that our offense is a turnover (prone) type of offense if you’re not smooth. I thought we shot ourselves in the foot way too much in the first half.”
The Cougars (1-2) scored on their second drive of the third quarter, by way of a three-yard touchdown run to reclaim the lead for good, going up 20-14.
On fourth down near their own 40-yard line, the Wolverines attempted their second fake punt of the game. This time the attempt would be thwarted though by the Cougars and they took over at Windermere’s 39-yard line. Consequently, University would drive down the field and score another touchdown with 26 seconds left in the quarter to go up 27-14.
Windermere wouldn’t lay down, though, as it trimmed the Cougars lead to six on Isaiah Jackson’s 27-yard touchdown pass to Will DiSalvo with 7:11 remaining in the game. That score trimmed the deficit to six, 27-21.
On the ensuing drive, the Wolverine defense forced third-and-long and appeared poised to get the ball back. The Cougars would dash Windermere’s hopes of a comeback though, as they converted a 27-yard pass to get the first down. On the following play they would score once more to put the game out of reach with 3:59 left.
“I thought (University) did a good job of making adjustments in the second half,” Priest said. “We just have to get better at what we do in practice, like I told the kids. Even after all of that, it was 27-21 in the fourth quarter. All we need is a stop and to go down and score. … You can’t make the mistakes we made — we just made way too many mistakes.”
The Wolverines had three turnovers on fumbles during the game, along with two turnovers-on-downs.
The Wolverines’ trek for their first win in program history will continue into next week, when they host the East River Falcons (2-1) in their first district contest of the year.
“We just need to clean up our game,” Priest said. “Just get better at what we do. We get better at what we do, then the other team has to work on us for one week. It should be harder for them than it is for us.”