It’s been a rough start for the Riverside Brookfield football team.
The Bulldogs (0-2) struggled on both sides of the ball against Nazareth Friday at home, falling 47-0 in their second game of the season. The offense amassed a mere 87 yards of total offense, while Nazareth ran roughshod over the Bulldogs. RB coach Otto Zeman, who has been a fixture on the Bulldogs sideline for 26 years, was dazed by the loss.
“We just didn’t do anything all night,” he said. “Our offense showed glimpses of getting things going only to fizzle on most of our possessions. I think our offensive line really struggled and that allowed them to pressure us. It wasn’t any better for our defense-they just manhandled us.”
The Bulldogs, who boast no seniors on this year’s squad, were overwhelmed from the beginning. After making some good defensive stops on Nazareth’s first offensive possession, the floodgates opened on the second possession. Nazareth mounted a 31-yard drive before vaulting to an early 7-0 lead. RB answered with a three-and-out. On the ensuing punt, the Bulldogs hiked the ball over quarterback and punter Lucas Hackel’s head, allowing Nazareth to recover the ball on the RB 12. The miscue led to another Nazareth touchdown and things went from bad to downright grim.
Again, the RB offense managed a few first downs, but the drive died and they were forced to punt. And again, Nazareth was given good field position, starting its drive on the RB 40-yard line before punching the ball in for a commanding 21-0 lead. The second half was carbon copy of the first, with the RB offense consistently stalling.
The statistics tell the tale of a rough night, with RB managing just 80 yards in passing and 40 total rushing yards. The Bulldogs had negative 33 yards of offense due to five total sacks. Lucas was 5-for-18 for 20 yards and three interceptions. Backup sophomore quarterback Billy VandeMerkt was 11-for-20 for 60 yards. Wide receiver Deon Walker had seven catches for 33 yards. Despite the dismal outing, Zeman was trying to find the silver lining.
“Our offensive line had a bad night and we didn’t convert anything that we were given,” he said. “It was a bad team effort and consequently we are 0-2 right now. We have to turn it around next week. But, regardless of how bad we are playing, I think we are lot better than we have shown. We just need to practice hard and eventually things will start going our way.”
The Bulldogs next face Robeson and will need to gather themselves quickly if they expect to mend their wounds and win before jumping back into Metro Suburban Conference play.
“Robeson is a good ball club, but it is a game we have to win,” Zeman said. “We are going to work on everything this week, but what we need to happen is for someone to step up and make some plays. We don’t have a lot of experience and we are a young team, so we have to get the confidence going to make sure good things happen.”