ANNA — Anna’s tough three-week stretch through some of the Midwest Athletic Conference’s toughest teams reached its midpoint on Friday at Booster Field.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, Friday went as badly as the first game in the stretch. Coach Nick Marino is hoping the squad has learned lessons and can prevent the third game in the stretch from being as bad.
Coldwater, which was ranked No. 1 in Division VI in the most recent Associated Press state poll, scored the first two touchdowns and pulled away in the second half to a 42-7 win.
It’s the second consecutive loss for Anna (3-3, 2-2 MAC), which lost 48-13 to defending D-VII state champion New Bremen last week.
“We didn’t play well,” Marino said. “We stubbed our toes a lot early and gave up some big plays. Buried ourselves in a hole. You can’t do that against a good team.”
Anna closed the gap to 14-7 late in the first quarter, but Coldwater scored one minute later to take a two-touchdown lead, which it held at halftime. The squad then added two TDs in the third to pull away and another in the first 62 seconds of the fourth to start a running clock.
Though Anna’s defense created two turnovers in the first half, the Cavaliers gained 327 yards of offense, 237 of which came on the ground.
Anna gained 246 yards of offense but struggled in key situations. The Rockets were 0 for 4 on fourth-down conversion tries and 4 for 13 on third-down tries.
The squad also was called for 10 penalties.
“We made some mental errors, and we can’t do that,” Marino said. “We’re not a good enough team to overcome mental errors like that, where the penalties pile up and we back ourselves up. We should have scored a couple more times, but didn’t.”
Anna is scheduled to travel to Versailles this Friday. The Tigers improved to 5-1 with a 24-19 win over New Bremen on Friday.
“We’ve learned a lot the last couple of weeks and have a lot of things we just have to fix about ourselves,” Marino said.
The Rockets fell behind fast.
Anna received the opening kickoff and punted after one first down. The Cavaliers scored on their first offensive possession when Reece Dellinger threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Schwieterman to give the squad a 7-0 lead with 10:16 left.
Anna went three-and-out and punted, and Coldwater quickly drove and scored on a 5-yard TD run by Isaac Fullenkamp with 8:33 left to take a 14-0 lead.
The Rockets found life on offense late in the first after Hunter Schmidt recovered a fumble at Coldwater’s 34. Schmidt hauled in a 6-yard TD pass from Carter Seigle with 1:58 left to cut the gap to 14-7.
Coldwater quickly responded. After a 66-yard kickoff return by Tanner Muhlenkamp, Fullenkamp scored on a 4-yard TD run with 52.8 seconds left to push the lead to 21-7.
Neither squad scored in a second quarter that was plagued by penalties. The Rockets came close after Justin Richards intercepted a pass deep in Coldwater territory, but the squad was stopped on a fourth-and-goal inside the 5.
“Defense played better in the second quarter and we thought we had a little bit of momentum,” Marino said. “If we don’t make some mistakes on jumps and so forth, maybe it’s a different football game. But that’s how every game is. If you don’t make mistakes, you could win it, right?
“We just have to play better and be more disciplined. We can’t have self-inflicted wounds, and that was a big problem tonight.”
Dellinger threw a 9-yard TD pass to Jesse Meyer to cap the opening drive of the second half and push Coldwater’s lead to 28-7 with 9:18 left in the third quarter.
Fullenkamp intercepted a pass from Seigle with just under five minutes left, and the squad quickly drove and scored on a 27-yard run by Luke Sudhoff with 3:33 left to increase the lead to 35-7.
Dellinger scored on a 14-yard TD run with 10:58 left in the fourth to push the margin over 30 points and start a running clock.
Dellinger completed 4-of-12 passes for 87 yards and two TDs and ran for 95 yards and one TD on six carries. Sudhoff gained 63 yards on six carries and scored one TD.
Seigle completed 16-of-27 passes for 129 yards with one TD and one intercpetion. Richards ran for 78 yards on 13 carries and caught two passes for 25 yards. Zach Ambos caught six passes for 43 yards.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.