Mistakes, penalties prove costly for HPCA
It’s true for almost any football team — penalties and injuries are detrimental to success.
High Point Christian Academy got a taste of both of those categories Friday night, committing 105 yards in penalties and losing three players to minor injuries, in a 30-20 loss to Lake Norman Charter.
HPCA, which romped and stomped to a 58-0 victory last week, did not have standout wide receiver/defensive back Malik Streater for the entire second half due to cramping in the legs. Streater, before his exit in the second quarter, picked off two passes, taking one 85 yards for a touchdown.
“I’ve been on a lot of coaching staffs, and I don’t think I’ve seen something like that before.” head coach Steve Lechner said of the amount of leg injuries. “I really don’t have an explanation for it, this is one of the most conditioned teams I’ve coached.”
Running backs Nate Degraffinraedt and Geoffrey Wall both missed several offensive series to minor leg injuries as well.
Throughout the game, the Cougars struggled to stop Lake Norman’s high powered, up-tempo offense, as it moved the ball at will. In the first quarter, Lake Norman totaled 197 yards of offense and 14 first downs, and totaled 357 yards of offense for the game.
“I was very surprised. They had a quick tempo, but we are a quick football team, too. They had one or two formations and were running the same stuff at us – there is no reason to be lined up the way we were and let up those runs.”
Lake Norman scored on three of its first five possessions by running its hurry-up offense, rattling off a play every 30-35 seconds.
“I don’t think we had a good practice this week. As a team, we’re going to have to make better decisions and stay focused.” Junior quarterback David Norris said. Norris started only his second game under center at the varsity level, but looked composed and comfortable. He was 6 for 17 passing for 59 yards and ran in a touchdown from 12 yards out.
“He’s got an uphill battle,” Lechner said. “I thought he did a commendable job tonight, though.”
Norris and the offense had two golden opportunities to score and cut Lake Norman’s lead to a one possession game. With 23 seconds before halftime, Lake Norman fumbled inside its own 5 yard line. Sophomore running back Geoffrey Wall looked to have cleared the pile up on first and goal, but the line judge did not signal for touchdown. Two five-yard penalties and two incomplete passes denied the Cougars any points.
Late in the third quarter, Degraffinraedt broke a 70-yard run for a touchdown, only to be called back for holding.
Lechner and Norris disagreed with both calls, both opportunities to cut Lake Norman’s 10-point lead.
“I thought right before half we got in the end zone,” Lechner said. Norris thought Degraffinraedt’s 70-yard run had all clean blocks.
HPCA slipped to 1-1 and will be at home Friday against Wake Christian. Norris feels that a good week of practice can help the Cougars bounce back.
“I need to make some better decisions under pressure and keep composure. Obviously less mistakes on penalties can really help us as well,” Norris said.