Dogies continue to struggle

Sonja Karp

Sonja Karp

NLJ Sports Reporter


After a rough couple of weeks where the Dogies had to face some unexpected adversity, head coach Matt Conzelman was hoping to turn the tide of the season last Friday in the Homecoming matchup against the Tigers of Lusk.

Despite getting off to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, the Dogies’ continued to struggle to put together their offensive game.

“You know, I thought we showed a lot of fight and fire on Friday, so that was good,” Conzelman began. “But we’ve got a lot of young guys and it takes them a minute to get into the game sometimes, and we still have a lot of learning to do.”

“For the first time this season, the Dogies got on the board first with a 14 yard scamper by Conagher Testerman, who was the Dogies’ go-to guy. On the night, the junior carried 18 times picking up 95 yards.

Testerman actually crossed the goal line twice in the first quarter. However, his first time in the end zone ended up being called back due to a block in the back penalty on the Dogies. 

“That was probably a 30-40 yard run, so that was really big,” Conzelman stated. “We were still in really good shape though, and we finally got it in there so that was good.”

Despite giving up a couple of big runs to the Tigers, Newcastle was able to keep them off the scoreboard in the first quarter of play. However, Lusk was able to punch one in early in the second quarter off a 28 yard run by the only Tiger to score on the evening. The Tigers were successful in their two-point conversion attempt to take the 8-6 lead going into the half-time break.

“I thought things were clicking really well to start, and I felt like even though we gave up a couple of big runs, our tackling was better than it’s been lately,” Conzelman claimed. “But number 40 is a beast, and really kind of got the best of us. He’s only a sophomore, so he’s going to be pretty good for them.”

With only 30 seconds off the clock in the second half, #40 broke out and had a 51 yard run to extend the Tigers’ lead. Once again, their two-point conversion attempt was successful, which brought the score to 16-6 in favor of Lusk.

Though down, the Dogies were not out and Christian Santos had a great kickoff return in the fourth quarter to get his team good field position as they started their offensive drive.

“I was thinking that if we could get some points off that drive, we still had a chance. However we missed the field goal attempt, so we turned the ball over on downs,” Conzelman sighed. “If we had made our extra point and the field goal we attempted, we would have been sitting at 10-16. In that case, we would have been one score away from winning it all. To have them feel that the game was in reach would have meant a lot.”

Unfortunately, the Dogies just couldn’t get things going. To make matters worse Testerman got banged up with a shoulder injury, so he was sidelined. 

“We really are moving in the right direction when you look at where we were at the beginning of the season,” Conzelman insisted. “Hopefully, we’ll just keep getting better and better each week, and improve each aspect of the game.”

This week the Dogies will play their last home game of the season, as they host the Thermopolis Bobcats on Friday with a 6:00 p.m. kickoff time.

“Thermop is a really good team, but we will do our best to play to our potential and give the fans a good show,” Conzelman nodded. “It’s senior night and I know those guys are thinking about the game for sure, and it will be an emotional week for them because they know it’ll be the last time they’ll play on Schoonmaker Field as a Dogie.”

Conzelman is hoping to have Sawyer Roberson back for this last contest, but will have to wait until Thursday to know whether he will or not  be good to go.


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