FITHIAN — The calendar read Friday the 13th, but for the Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac Comets, it might have felt more like Nightmare on Route 150. Or, perhaps it was just a horrible reoccurring dream.
The Comets had yet to win a game entering Friday’s contest against the winless Arcola Purple Riders, and they had plenty of opportunities to pick up their first win. In fact, OAP’s offense played most of night on Arcola’s side of the field. But the Comets simply couldn’t finish and suffered a 21-13 loss, falling to 0-3 for the first time since 2002.
“It’s really embarrassing because our coaches, they really set us up for success,” Oakwood junior quarterback Parker Lee said. “It’s just really penalties that kill us. We get so close. We get in the red zone so often, it’s unbelievable. We can drive so well and we can put plays together, but when we come down to the last few plays, it’s, I don’t know. We roll over, I guess.”
The Comets took 38 of their 70 plays from Arcola’s side of the field, and had five of their 10 drives end without points inside the Purple Riders’ 30 yard line.
Even though missed opportunities hurt OAP early in the contest, they still had a chance on their final drive of the game. Arcola had just taken a 21-13 lead on a 79-yard completion from quarterback Clayton Strader to Nick Hudson. OAP responded with a big play of its own as Alex Anderson returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to the Arcola 21-yard line.
A Purple Riders penalty on the return gave the Comets an additional 10 yards, but with a holding penalty, they managed only one net yard on the series. They turned the ball over on downs with two minutes, 20 seconds left in the game with a pass attempt into the end zone was knocked out of the reach of two OAP receivers.