Braydon Freitag was looking for an explanation for what Bandon’s football team needs to do to turn the season around after the Tigers fell to visiting Coquille 48-19 in the Sunset Conference season opener for the two schools on Friday night.
“We’ve got to practice, come prepared and play a whole football game,” the senior quarterback said. “We’ve got to practice 110 percent.”
Bandon showed flashes of good things against the Red Devils, but couldn’t string enough plays together on offense or defense to overcome Coquille’s offensive attack.
The Tigers will try to turn things around this week when they visit Illinois Valley in a nonleague contest Thursday night. Bandon finishes the season with three straight league games, at Toledo, at home against Reedsport and at Gold Beach.
After the loss to the Red Devils, the game against Toledo becomes huge. Last year the Tigers beat the Boomers and went on to finish second in the league. This year, Toledo is ranked No. 1 and gets Bandon at home.
Bandon will need to get the running game going better and also be able to make stops on defense to stick with the Boomers.
The Tigers got off to a great start against Coquille in their homecoming game, when Freitag forced a fumble on the opening kickoff and fell on the ball.
Wyatt Dyer got outside on a pair of big runs, the second one a 14-yard touchdown, and the Tigers led 6-0 early.
But Coquille scored seven of the next eight touchdowns, taking advantage of the one throwing mistake by Freitag — and interception that led to a touchdown one play later — and an onside kick.
Bandon, meanwhile, struggled to move the ball on the ground, especially in the first half.
Dyer had 50 yards after just four carries, but finished with only 66. The Red Devils had 12 tackles for loss in the first half. Freitag was pressured nearly every time he dropped back to pass.
When he had time, Freitag was successful. He completed 11 of 16 passes.
His best target against Coquille was Cooper Lang, who had six catches for 86 yards, including a phenomenal touchdown just before halftime when the ball slipped through his fingers, but he kept it in the air with his feet and cradled it into his body.
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That catch at the half was great,” Freitag said.
Freitag scored Bandon’s third touchdown late in the game.
Bandon coach Aaron Freitag said as big as the struggles on offense were in the outcome of the game, the defensive woes also were significant.
“We couldn’t get stops on defense,” he said.
Coquille ran for 372 yards, having its best success outside. The interior of Bandon’s defense stopped numerous attempts quickly — 14 of Coquille’s runs, one third of the attempts, went for 2 or fewer yards.
But Aaron Freitag said, “We’ve got to get more physical.
“I’ve got a lot of athletic kids. They’ve got to have more hunger.”
And while the passing game was good at times, Bandon rushed for just 62 yards on 40 running plays.
“You’ve got to have both (running and passing),” the coach said. “Especially against a team that pounds the rock.”
Illinois Valley provides an opportunity for Bandon to gain momentum before the big game with Toledo next week.
The Cougars got their lone win against Gold Beach, but also lost to Creswell, which Bandon beat, and to Reedsport, when they scored just two points.
Then again, Illinois Valley lost a close game to Glide in its league opener last week, 34-27, so they could put up a fight.