Flashes lick wounds after bruising loss

Published 12:02 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Friday’s 21-6 loss to Madison-St. Joseph was painful in more ways than one for the St. Aloysius Flashes.

St. Al’s two-year run as holders of the Strauss-Stallings Trophy, the award given to the game’s annual winner, ended. Adding to that pain was how the Flashes got beat up in the process.

Starting junior linebacker Josh Eargle went down with a knee injury late in the second quarter and had to be carted off the field. The injury appeared serious and he is scheduled to have an MRI on Wednesday.

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Freshman defensive back Barrett Teller also hurt his knee and did not return, but his injury is not thought to be as serious as Eargle’s. Teller could be back when St. Al (2-2) returns to action after this week’s open date.

St. Al coach B.J. Smithhart was concerned about the injuries that will further deplete a young, inexperienced team.

“Our prayers are with Josh. He’s had a good season for us and we hope it’s not as bad as it looks,” Smithhart said.

Madison-St. Joe quarterback Peyton Willoughby saw Eargle go down.

“Man, that was bad. I saw it when I rolled out. He grabbed his knee,” Willougby said.

Coming into the contest, Willoughby was seen as the big threat for the Bruins. The Flashes, however, did a good job of keeping him and his receivers in check. Willoughby completed only 7 of 18 passes for 85 yards and was intercepted twice. Offensively, though, the Flashes could not overcome six turnovers. Three came by interception, and the last two were returned for backbreaking scores in the final 1:35 to turn a 7-6 game into a 21-6 final.

“We just made a lot of errors late in the game,” said St. Al receiver Will Burnett. “It was a tough, physical game. We just need to hold our composure better. We have 15 freshmen on the team, so we’re still really young.”

Smithhart said it was a typical game for a young team.

“We’re having growing pains. We take one step forward and then two steps back,” Smithhart said.

Some of the steps forward included the early passing success of freshman quarterback Carlisle Koestler. He had a 28-yard toss to Burnett and a 30-yarder to tight end Sage Lewis, and finished the game 5-of-9 for 77 yards.

Lewis was one of Smithhart’s in-game moves when he was inserted at guard in the second half.

“We were just trying to get some more size. It wasn’t that big of a stretch for him because he’s our regular tight end and has played some guard before,” Smithhart said.

The Flashes’ line blocked well in producing their lone score, when Carlton Cambpell ran 51 yards for a touchdown on the last play of the third quarter. For the game, Campbell and starting quarterback Ford Biedenharn each had 91 yards rushing.

St. Al will be off until Sept. 24 when it opens the Region 4-1A schedule at Bogue Chitto. Smithhart said his team can use the break.

“We’re pretty well banged up,” he said.