Colon football coach saw signs in camp that his offense could be explosive. He also knew it had a tendency, at times, to suffer from self-inflicted wounds, which is what happened Friday in a 33-28 loss to visiting Wyoming Tri-Unity.
“We just killed ourselves,” said VandenBerg, whose team dropped to 2-2 this season. “In the first half, there’s not too many things we could have done to make things worse. We absolutely killed ourselves. You name it, turnovers, missed blocks … we just killed ourselves. We gave up a kickoff for a touchdown, a pick-six and we turned the ball over on the 5-yard line.”
And the Magi still had a chance at the end, but a drive late in the fourth quarter died with another turnover. Colon, down 33-14 at halftime, outscored Tri-Unity, which earned its first win of the season, 14-0 in the second half.
“We regrouped a little and came back out in the second half and shut them out,” VandenBerg said. “We scored twice and had an opportunity to score again late. We just couldn’t close the deal. We just couldn’t finish it off.
“Much better second half. We still had mistakes — dumb penalties and stupid stuff this team struggles with, honestly. I told these guys they’re a great team when they execute and don’t make penalties and don’t shoot themselves in the foot. They don’t like making it easy on themselves.”
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Junior quarterback Ryan Napier rushed for 4- and 37-yard touchdowns in the first half, but Colon was stunned by a three-TD outpouring in the second quarter by Tri-Unity. Napier connected with receiver Tyler Schipper for scoring passes of nine and 23 yards in the second half.
Colon collected 19 first downs — eight more than Tri-Unity — and put up 304 yards of total offense (64 more than its opponent). Even the Magi’s nine penalties for 102 yards were far fewer than the visitor’s 16 infractions for 128 yards. But big plays bit the Colon defense too many times.
“As a coaching staff we just need to get together and come up with some new drills and be creative and get out there and figure out how to help the kids learn and get better,” VandenBerg said. “We have to take it on our shoulders as coaches. It’s a tough one. You get back out there Monday and just keep coaching.”