Turnovers continue to end Hickman Kewpie drives, momentum and chances for victories.
The Kewpies, hoping to limit turnovers and end a two-game losing streak, will travel to Peve Stadium to face the Blue Springs South Jaguars at 7 tonight. The Kewpies (2-2) have turned the ball over eight times in their losses. When Hickman keeps its turnovers below two per game, it is 2-0.
Coach Gregg Nesbitt said limiting turnovers is more than preaching ball security.
“There are the fundamentals of ball security,” Nesbitt said. “There are pressure points, keeping the ball on the rib cage, and not losing concentration. But that isn’t it.
“(Interceptions), like two weeks ago against Blue Springs, are a little bit different. Blake (Tekotte) is obviously a young quarterback and is very talented. We had some protection problems and their pressure got to us. Their defense forced some of those turnovers.”
Greg Oder, coach at Blue Springs South (3-1), said he knows the Kewpies have struggled with turnovers and said his team continues to work on creating them.
“We have always emphasized getting after the ball,” Oder said. “Whether it’s caught or not, we want to rip it out.”
Nesbitt said Tekotte’s lack of experience has caused turnovers.
“We don’t need to throw the ball on first down,” Nesbitt said. “Take the sack. You tell a young guy, just about anybody who has played that position, it happens. We just need to remember to remember; the ball has to be a little bit more important to us.”
Hickman’s turnover problem has often occurred deep in opponents’ territory. Last week against Oak Park, Hickman was inside the Oak Park 35 eight times and scored three times.
As the Kewpies drive closer to the end zone, they continue to struggle. The Kewpies were inside the Northmen 25 four times, and failed to score each time. In the Kewpies’ 10 possessions, they never punted. Nesbitt said that signals careless ball security.
“We’ve got to hang on to the ball, protect the ball better,” Nesbitt said. “We can’t throw it to the other team or fumble it. We have to find a way to be a little bit more opportunistic and find a way to get that thing in to the end zone.”
On offense, the Jaguars are almost a mirror image of the Kewpies.
“Offensively they are balanced,” Nesbitt said. “They can run and throw. They have a very athletic quarterback in No. 1 (Nathan Thomas). No. 28 Dustin Masters is a good little scat back. He can run fly sweeps where he comes in motion and they hand it to him last second.”
Blue Springs Sooth also has Kyle Rausch, a 6-foot-8 wide receiver, whom cornerback Cedric Alvis will cover. Alvis, 5-10, has experience covering taller receivers.
On Sept. 20 against Blue Springs, Alvis covered Darius Hill, a 6-6 receiver, and held him to 53 yards on four catches.
“Will put our biggest guy, Cedric, on him,” Nesbitt said. “Cedric always says he has a 45-inch vertical, so we’ll see.”