Tolton football working to finish strong in close games

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 | 6:55 p.m. CDT; updated 9:50 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 26, 2013
Wide receiver Ryan Chappell runs during a play at practice on Tuesday at Fr. Tolton Catholic High School.

COLUMBIA— During the course of its season, the Fr. Tolton Catholic High football team has had some close games. One was a 32-38 loss to Southern Boone, and another was a 20-13 loss to Tipton, two games Tolton coach Chad Masters said could have the team sitting with a 2-2 record.

Instead, Tolton is stuck at 0-4 on the season and is facing Marionville at home at 1 p.m. Saturday. Masters said his team will fight to be competitive this week and overcome some of the problems it has had closing out games.

"There's no magic answer," Masters said. "For you to win those games, you've got to be in those games. ... Both games that were real close, we did well, but we had breakdowns on defense at key moments."

Masters says that late interceptions and clock management have been issues for the team over its first four games. That is something coaches and players are looking to change against Marionville.

Marionville is 2-2 on the season and is known for its distinctive offensive strategy. In its two wins this year, the Comets scored 46 points against Miller High School and 36 points against Pleasant Hope. Masters said Tolton will need to respect this offense if it is going to have success stopping it.

"They (Marionville) run the ball real well," Masters said. "They run a really unique offense ... very hard to defend. It's a very run-heavy team, but they can throw the ball and that's something that people forget about. They catch you sleeping like that every once in a while where you get so conscious of the run. We're going to work to try to stop the run, be cognizant of the passing and just try to stop them there."

Tolton has also had an offensive focus during practice this week, trying to iron out its own strategy.

"We're just trying to clean things up," Masters said. "We haven't been able to throw the ball real well the last couple of weeks. We're going to keep working on that in practice and get ourselves out of that slump."

If the team can fine-tune its offense and contain Marionville on defense, Masters thinks Tolton will be competitive Saturday.

"Overall, we've been playing great football," Masters said. "We just have to figure out how to win some of these close ones."

Supervising editor is Greg Bowers.

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