Coach preaches ‘patience’ as Mounts blanked in debut

By on September 5, 2012

By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor truth.eph@lnpnews.com, Staff Writer

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the turn around of the Ephrata football team will not happen overnight either.

It’s going to take time, folks. And following Ephrata’s 42-0 loss in the season opener at Exeter Friday, first-year Coach Scott Shelley tried to stress that point.

"I just hope the people have patience with us, and that’s what I’ve been trying to preach all along," Shelley said. "Don’t give up on these kids. If they don’t win, it’s not for a lack of effort. It’s not for the work that they put in. They are working hard. They are doing everything we are trying to get them to do. It’s just going to take a lot of repetitions and time."

Friday night, Ephrata, a team that entered the season with just one returning starter back from a 1-9 squad, met up with a veteran Eagle team that is expected to challenge this season in Berks Division One.

And, as expected, this one was a mismatch.

Exeter proved it is much more than the right arm of 6-3, 230-pound quarterback Kyle Yocum, who is headed to the University of Delaware next fall.

While Yocum was solid, if not spectacular, passing for three touchdowns and rushing for two more (all in the first half), the host Eagles dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball en route to the easy victory at Don Thomas Stadium.

Not much went right for the Mounts on this night as they turned the ball over four times and had just 78 total yards of offense.

This game turned ugly early. But if not for a key scramble on a fourth down play by Yocum on the game’s first series, who knows how it would have played out?

Darion Einsig took the opening kickoff and returned it all the way to the Ephrata 36-yard line. But after the Mounts stuffed the Eagles on three-straight running plays, Exeter faced a fourth-and-four from the Ephrata 30.

The Eagles decided to go for the first down, and Yocum was able to break a tackle or two as he scrambled for a seven-yard run to the Mounts’ 23 yard line, which moved the chains.

Four plays later, Einsig then went up the middle for a seven-yard TD run to give the Eagles the lead.

"It’s just a shame because we had him," Shelley said of Yocum’s fourth-down scramble. "That first series, if we get him on fourth down, who knows? But he’s a big time player, probably a three-year starter, and he came up and made the big play."

With Exeter leading 7-0, things went from bad to worse for the Mounts moments later when Bobby Nye fumbled on Ephrata’s first play from scrimmage and Exeter recovered at the 18. On the next play, Yocum went straight up the middle for an 18-yard touchdown run to put his team up 14-0.

A bad punt on Ephrata’s ensuing drive gave the Eagles another short field, this time taking over at the Mount 13. That led to a 13-yard touchdown pass from Yocum to Robbie Devich with 1:05 to go in the first, and the rout was officially on.

Exeter would then double up its lead to 42-0 with another 21-point quarter in the second. First, Brian Beissel picked off Ephrata QB Justin Mease for the first of three interceptions thrown on the night. That led to a 35-yard hook-up between Yocum and Einsig.

Then, Alex Dundore returned a punt all the way to the Ephrata one before Yocum punched it in on the next play. And, Manny Soto set up the final score of the night late in the second when he returned a punt to the Mounts’ 23-yard line. Three plays later, Yocum, who completed all four passes on the night for 72 yards and three scores, found Einsig on a 21-yard TD pass with 4:25 to go in the half.

"We just made a lot of mistakes against a pretty good team," Shelley said. "But that’s just the way it can be with this team. We are young, we are inexperienced, and we have to learn. You want to put the blame on somebody put it on me because maybe I didn’t prepare them well enough. But I knew that this could happen, not because the kids are not good kids or whatever… They are just inexperienced."

The Mounts, who were held to just 22 total yards and three first downs in the first half, did enjoy better success in the second half mostly against Exeter’s reserve units.

With the mercy rule in effect, Ephrata had three possessions in the half and nearly got its first points of the season early in the fourth. Fullback Scott Liebl, who led the Mounts with 64 yards on 15 carries, ran for four yards and a first down at the Exeter seven-yard line with 8:30 to play. However, Mease was picked off by Luis Pagan three plays later in the endzone, and the Mounts never really threatened again.

Despite the loss, Shelley said he saw some things on which his team can build.

"I thought we did some good things. There is no doubt about it…We did some good things," he said. "I thought we moved the ball well in the second half, and I thought defensively, a lot of times we were right there. We missed some tackles, and those are things that we need to continuously work on, and we will.

"I thought we were very tentative upfront, but again, we are still figuring things out," he continued. "As much as we think they know what they are doing, they get into a game and they are tentative. I understand that. We just got to keep going. We are not going to give up on these kids. I’m hoping they are not going to give up on us. We believe in this team. We are trying to teach them the right things, and it will come. But it’s going to take repetitions and more repetitions. It’s going to take time to get them to learn and get after it."

The Mounts face Garden Spot– a 27-6 winner over Twin Valley– this Friday in the home opener at War Memorial Field, beginning at 7 p.m. More MOUNTS, page B-2

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