The Echo High School Cougars were off to a great start in first quarter of their game against the Powder Valley Badgers but quickly ran out of steam in their 60-22 loss Friday at Kennison Field.
The Cougars, (1-2), recovered an onside kick during the first quarter and within three or four plays, scored a touchdown, to start things off. The Cougars then didnt score again until the second half.
Despite senior Ulissess Barreras kick-off return for a touchdown in the third quarter and second touchdown with 1:33 left to go in the fourth quarter, the Cougars couldnt secure the win.
We had things that we executed on, and then we got tired, coach Rick Thew said. For the most part, we just have to execute better and not let things get in our head like the heat and how tired we are.
Thew said his team is down about four players and is having to start a couple of freshmen in key positions.
We are pretty thin right now, he said. We have people out with certain things, and we just dont have the experience to fill those spots. One, especially, is our starting guard. We have a freshman starting there.
Thew said even though the score didnt reflect it, his athletes played hard. He said he was really pleased with his kick-return special teams players, in particular, whom he said played really well.
We had some real good returns, he said.
Thew said he was also impressed with the effort his players put out on the field.
They had nothing left, he said. They put it all out on the field. Our running backs ran hard, and our center, Jacob Murstig, I mean I dont know what I would do without him.
Thew said Murstig is the key to his teams success as he holds down the center and keeps all other players in check.
He is always solid, he said. He had to help the new guys. I mean, we had two first-year guards in there tonight, so hes telling them where to block and helping them out. So, he has to know all those positions.
The Cougars will play their first league game at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Sherman County.
Thew said because he doesnt think the teams in the league are as big as the ones they have been playing so far, he projects Echo to do pretty well.
It is going to be all about our execution and mental toughness, he said. They have lost some important positions, so we have got to have our replacement players new guys be better than their new guys.