It was a continuation of the Comets’ misfortune from the first half.
“We just need to finish,” OAP coach Jeremy Dirksmeyer said. “That’s the biggest thing. In that first half, we had a great drive there and had two costly penalties inside the 15 that killed that drive. We’ve just got to finish. It comes down to that. You’ve got to put it together and finish, and those penalties killed us there in the first half.
“I felt in the second half, we had a lot of momentum. Offensively, we did alright. We pulled together. Defense was outstanding; it got us a couple of turnovers. Again, we moved the ball and had great special teams, and just could not punch it in when it came down to it.”
OAP sophomore defensive back Austin McCarty stripped the ball out of the hands of Arcola’s Wyatt Fishel and recovered the fumble at the end of a 38-yard completion with 2:33 to go in the third quarter. At the time, the Comets trailed 14-7, but they failed to convert on the turnover.
Zach Horatschki scored both of OAP’s touchdowns and had 23 carries for 57 yards. Andrew Curley had nine carries for 105 yards, and caught four passes for 61 yards.
Despite the bad luck and 0-3 start, Dirksmeyer and the Comets are confident they are trending in the right direction.
In their previous game against Arthur-Lovington, the Comets dominated the time of possession, had 22 first downs, and rushed the ball for over 200 yards, yet they still lost 40-7.
“I think we’re just coming together as a team a little bit more emotionally,” Dirskmeyer said. “Our character is starting to show. We’ve got a tough schedule, and that’s a pretty decent football team. They have lost to two very good teams in Salt Fork and Bismarck. Our competition is pretty tough this year. I’m OK with that, but our kids have to understand that they’re playing right with these teams.