By Jeremy Schneider
Maumee’s struggles on the ground continued Friday night, and it turned into a 49-0 loss for the Panthers football team at Northern Lakes League foe Napoleon.
The Panthers rushed for minus-1 yards on the night, by far their worst performance of the season. Meanwhile, Napoleon rushed for 348 yards on 47 carries (7.4 yards per rush) and 17 first downs.
“On every drive we had, we either had a missed assignment or missed execution,” Maumee coach Cam Coutcher said. “One of our goals is 86 percent play efficiency, and I would be surprised if we got 50, which would be an all-time low. We’re not where we need to be.”
For the season, Maumee is averaging 2.77 yards per rush, totaling 457 yards in the rushing game. The Panthers are allowing 7.22 yards per carry and a total of 1,719 yards, nearly four times as many as they’ve gained.
“We’ve struggled to run the ball all year and we’ve struggled to stop the run,” Coutcher said. “I’ll put a lot of that one me as the offensive coordinator. Maybe it’s a toughness thing, maybe it’s an attitude, which I think blocking is.”
What little offense the Panthers (1-5, 1-2 NLL) could muster against the Wildcats (3-3, 2-1 NLL) came via the passing game, where Zach Marvin threw for 115 yards on 12-of-22 passing.
Jaelin McCoy caught five passes for 40 yards, and Caden Brookshier added three catches for 34 yards.
Napoleon started the game with a pair of first-quarter touchdowns from Justin Alderich, a 21-yarder less than 3 minutes into the game and a 43-yard run about three minutes later.
The Wildcats blew the game open with 21 points in the second quarter. Autavian Fields had a 4-yard TD run, quarterback Andrew Warneke rushed from 1-yard out, and Warneke found Alderich on a 6-yard TD pass with 15 second remaining before halftime.
“Probably execution-wise, it’s the worst we’ve played all year,” Coutcher said. “Effort and attitude and those types of things was just not where we needed tonight.”
The loss comes one week after the Panthers broke a 14-game losing streak with a win over Southview in a delayed and rain-soaked contest.
“Our confidence is not where it needs to be in order to sustain success right now,” Coutcher said. “We just have to believe in the process and believe that what we’re doing is right, believe in the game plan and then go execute it.”
The Panthers go for their second win of the season next week when they visit Springfield in a NLL game. The Blue Devils are 2-4 overall and 2-1 in the league after beating Northview 27-26 last week. Springfield has won six straight in the series by an average score of 43-17.