Delhi High stumbled and fell on the road Friday night when it took on Waterford High in the Southern League opener.
The Hawks played it close in the first half but were unable to tame the Wildcats in the third and fourth quarters, losing the fight in the trenches and receiving their first loss of the season by a score of 33-14.
“Our kids were prepared, they just, for whatever reason, they didn’t show up to play like they did the previous three games,” Delhi head coach Rod McCombs said. “This is just a hard lesson they have to learn. We know we’re a better team than we showed tonight but give it to Waterford, they did everything right.”
With four missing components, Delhi’s Achilles heel was its line. The Hawks struggled to open running lanes for Joel Cantu and Ricco McCombs and failed to protect quarterback Garret Thomas on offense while their defensive line was unable to penetrate Waterford’s front seven.
The result was a relentless power rushing attack from the Wildcats and a dismal offensive performance that saw Cantu emerge as the game’s leading rusher with only 54 yards.
“We’re missing key players and players had to play out of position tonight. We had to shuffle the line around so, essentially, it’s a makeshift offensive line for us this week,” McCombs said.
Even with parts missing, Delhi was able to score in the first quarter on a Thomas 7 yard run and enter the half trailing 12-7.
Waterford came out in the second half and scored on its first two possessions, however, while Delhi went four and out on three of its four second half possessions. Thomas managed to find the end zone again on a seven yard pass to Oscar Heredia, but by then it was too little too late.
“We need to execute,” McCombs said. “We need to take advantage of opportunities when they’re given to us and we need to execute, and we didn’t do those two things tonight.”
Delhi must now regroup and prepare for next week’s game against Le Grand High in another road game.
“We’re just hoping to get back to playing football the way we know how,” McCombs said.