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Flashes hope to bounce back in battle of the Saints

[9/3/04]Winning last week’s season opener at Greenville-St. Joseph seemed reasonable when the band was playing at halftime.

A 7-7 score at the break turned into a 34-7 drubbing for St. Aloysius as everything crumbled to pieces in the second half.

“We were probably the better team Friday night and we lost by 25 or so points,” St. Al coach Jim Taylor said. “That doesn’t speak very well about the effort we put out.”

Taylor said he was surprised his players ran out of gas in the second half, despite weeks of strenuous conditioning before the season.

“We just mentally let the heat and humidity whip us, because I know we weren’t in as bad of shape as we looked like in the second half,” he said. “We just got manhandled. Once we got behind, we let everything overcome us.”

The young Flashes (0-1) return home tonight to face a St. Andrew’s team that finds itself in a similar situation with inexperienced players.

“Twenty-one of our 29 people are freshmen and sophomores,” St. Andrew’s coach David Bradberry said. “We don’t have many guys that’s been around very long, so we’ve got some growing up to do.”

Behind sophomore tailback Bradford Blackmon’s 146 yards, the Saints overcame their mistakes to beat Richland 26-19 last Friday. The goal for the Flashes’ defense will be to limit Blackmon in St. Andrew’s I-formation offense.

“He’s very elusive and I think if we contain him, we’ll have a chance to win the ballgame,” Taylor said. “When they run the football, he’s going to run it three-fourths of the time.”

The same can be said for St. Aloysius running back Rob Jones, who led Warren County with 1,253 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior last year.

“They’re able to get him the ball in two or three different ways and that presents problems,” Bradberry said. “If he just ran a dive straight ahead all night long, we might find somebody that would be there for the tackle. But they squirt him in the flat, they misdirect with him, so it presents a lot of problems trying to get people at the point of attack.”

Jones ran for 99 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown a week ago. For him to be more effective, Taylor said the blocking needs to improve.

“We expect Rob to run the football more than any other player, but it doesn’t matter if we have Walter Payton in the backfield, we’ve still got to block,” he said. “We didn’t do that, we didn’t give him much opportunity to run the football.”

Last year, St. Andrew’s beat St. Aloysius 26-6 en route to a 7-4 season. Taylor hopes the Flashes can bounce back from last week’s debacle and respond better to playing at home.

“Bottom line, we’ve just got to regroup some and cut out some of the mistakes,” Taylor said. “Really we’ve just got to mentally get more into the game.”