SYCAMORE – The Sycamore football team couldn’t have asked for much more out of its defense Friday night against Ottawa.
Facing an offense that averaged almost 45 points a game through the first four weeks, Sycamore held the Pirates to a mere 10 points. But two special teams miscues proved to be the difference-makers. A bad snap on a punt in the first quarter and a muffed punt return in the third quarter twice set up Ottawa with good field position, and the Pirates did just enough in a 10-6 win over Sycamore.
“We fit in our gaps and played together very well, stuck it to them,” sophomore linebacker Brett Weaver said. “We played together as a team.”
Ottawa (5-0) took advantage of a botched punt on Sycamore’s first possession, giving the Pirates the ball at the Sycamore 35-yard line. Eight plays later, quarterback William Hoffman found Cody Stokes for a 12-yard touchdown.
Sycamore (4-1) followed with a time-consuming drive, but was stopped on fourth-and-1 at the goal line when backup quarterback Nick Feuerbach’s pass fell incomplete. Starting quarterback Devin Mottet was hurt on a fumble recovery on the previous play.
The Spartans found the end zone on their next drive, covering 58 yards in five plays. Culton finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, but a missed extra point resulted in a 7-6 Ottawa lead.
After Sycamore forced a three-and-out on Ottawa’s first possession of the second half, Ben Niemann seemed indecisive on whether to catch the punt or let it drop and failed to hit it out of bounds once it was touched. Ottawa recovered and capitalized with a 26-yard field goal.
Sycamore never got much offensive momentum in the second half, totaling only 77 yards of offense.
“I didn’t get in a rhythm calling plays offensively,” Sycamore coach Joe Ryan said. “They’re really good defensively, and we just didn’t get much going, but our kids played their tails off.”
Sycamore plays host to Morris next Friday.
“It’s just experience,” Weaver said. “It’s just a little setback; we’ll be all right. We’ll practice hard this week and play hard again next week.”