The Newman football team has already experienced the highs and lows of winning and losing in the 2021 fall season.
But the Comets have learned lessons from both their 34-6 Week 1 win over Morrison and their 27-14 Week 2 loss to Rockridge.
“There are definitely things we can take out of both games, but I feel like as a team, we learned more from our loss,” junior Drew Scott said. “We got to see what our weaknesses were rather than our strengths, and you always feel like you can get better after a loss.”
After amassing 324 yards of offense (262 on the ground) and 5 touchdowns in Week 1, Newman (1-1) managed just 201 total yards (190 rushing) and 2 TDs in Week 2.
Defensively, the Comets had 11 tackles for loss against Morrison, then just six against Rockridge.
And it wasn’t just the coaches pointing out the miscues from Week 2; this week’s film session was a somber one for the Comets.
“Just watching film, you could tell that they weren’t too pleased,” Newman coach Brandon Kreczmer said. “I always say the eye in the sky doesn’t lie, and watching film, we weren’t doing what we were supposed to do and the effort wasn’t there.
“But the nice thing is, everything that we were doing wrong are things that are coachable and fixable, so hopefully we can correct those against Orion.”
The Chargers (1-1) also come into Saturday night’s game off a loss, with a 45-7 defeat at the hands of Princeton following their season-opening 26-15 win over Hall. In the win, Orion’s Cole Katzenberger ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns, and also had six tackles, one TFL and a pick-6.
Last week, the Tigers held Orion to 164 total yards (81 rushing, 83 passing) in a game they controlled from the start.
But just as with Rockridge a week ago, Newman expects a much better team than their previous result indicates – especially with Orion, who has played Newman tough in each of the last three meetings. Newman won 28-6 in 2019 and 35-21 in 2017, while Orion won 20-17 in 2018.
“Orion’s always a tough team, and they always play us tough. It’s become a little rivalry, I guess you could say,” Scott said. “We just have to stick to what we know, don’t overthink things – I think we were doing that in Week 2 – and just keep it simple.”
The Comets have done what they do best through the first two weeks: pound the ball on the ground. Marcus Williams has 14 rushes for 207 yards and three touchdowns – all runs of 50+ yards – while Brennen Cook has 79 yards and two TDs on 14 rushes, and Ethan Van Landuit has 61 yards on 15 carries in a balanced attack. Nolan Britt and Hunter Luyando also have touchdown runs.
Cody Donna is 5-for-11 passing for 73 yards, and four different receivers – Van Landuit, Scott, Cook and Gabe Padilla – have caught passes.
Newman will see a familiar style across the line of scrimmage this week.
“We can kind of expect the same tough game we’ve had with them in recent years,” Kreczmer said. “They’re kind of similar to us: they’re going to throw the ball, they’re going to run the ball, they’re going to play stout defense. They’ve kind of become another rival for us, and it’s just going to be a hard-nosed, old-school football game.”
Cook, Luyando and Van Landuit all have 14 tackles and two TFLs through two weeks, while Padilla has 15 tackles and one TFL. Will Rude (12 tackles, 4 TFL) and Trenten Hicks (10 tackles, 1 TFL) also have double-digits tackle stats through the first two games.
Kreczmer expects to see even more fire on both sides of the ball this week.
“A loss can sometimes be a good thing, and hopefully it is this week,” he said. “We just didn’t play a very good game offensively or defensively [against Rockridge]; we had some spurts, but we just couldn’t keep it going. But we watched the film, saw what we did wrong, and hopefully we can correct our mistakes.”
Saturday night at Roscoe Eades Stadium, the Comets will be looking for a performance more like Week 1 than Week 2 – although neither of those games will be on the players’ minds.
“We enter every week like we’re 0-0, and our goal is to go 1-0 for the week,” Scott said. “So whatever we did Week 1 and Week 2, we forget about it and just move on. We’re ready to go 1-0 against Orion.”