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Archive for Sunday, September 18, 2005

Inconsistent offense dooms HINU

September 18, 2005

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— Kaleb Harris pretty much summed it up.

"We looked great on one series," said Harris, Haskell Indian Nation University's quarterback, "and on the next series we were terrible."

HINU's inconsistent offense negated a yeoman defensive performance and St. Mary University posted a 10-0 football victory over the Fightin' Indians Saturday night at Lansing High's field.

"They're a very solid team," Harris said of the Spires, "but we think we're better, but we need to play Haskell football, not high school football."

Harris, who went into Saturday's game averaging 291 yards a game, settled for 130. Overall, Haskell managed just 183 yards of offense. Meanwhile, the Spires were no great shakes on offense, either, managing only four plays that gained double-digit yardage. St. Mary's biggest gainer was a 17-yard run by tailback Sirdonovan Palmer.

"They're a blue-collar team," HINU coach Eric Brock said. "They come to work on every play."

Haskell's offense, however, punched out too many times. Harris threw an interception and so did Jody Franklin, who started but surrendered the QB job to Harris late in the first quarter. Harris had injured an ankle in Tuesday's practice.

"Kaleb was OK, but he didn't practice all week," Brock said, "so we felt Jody deserved to start."

Soon after taking over, Harris fumbled a snap on a 29-yard field goal attempt by Randy Cozad early in the second quarter which, as it turned out, was as close as Haskell came to scoring.

St. Mary (1-1) snapped a scoreless tie on a 35-yard field goal by Chris Butala with just 40 seconds remaining in the first half, and the Spires maintained that 3-0 lead until late in the fourth quarter.

St. Mary's Eben Sanchez supplied the impetus for the clincher when he blocked Victor Stead's punt, allowing the Spires to set up on Haskell's 15-yard line. Five plays later, tailback Palmer burst over from five yards out with 6:34 remaining.

Palmer's TD was only the second the Indians (2-1) have surrendered in three games.

Sanchez had blocked a Stead punt earlier in the fourth quarter, but the Spires squandered that gift when quarterback Dan Reagan fumbled and linebacker Andrew Cole recovered.

"Two punts blocked are not going to help anybody," Brock said.

Neither did 10 penalties that cost the Indians 73 yards.

Still, if the Indians could have generated any kind of offense, they might have stolen a road victory. The Indians rushed for only 88 yards on 40 carries and Brock said he's about ready to throw in the towel on his running game.

"We've come to the conclusion," he said, "we're probably not going to run the ball as much as we want to. We're probably going to have to throw more."

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