Edwardsville maintained its undefeated season Friday, but it was in no mood for celebration.
“A win’s a win, but I don’t think we deserved to win that game,” senior Jackson Morrissey said after the Tigers tripped O’Fallon 24-10. “We had too many mental errors and we came out real slow the first quarter. We have a lot to work on in practice Monday.”
The Tigers (4-0 overall, 2-0 in the Southwestern Conference) had 13 penalties for 115 yards. Senior Kendell Davis had three rushing touchdowns negated by holding penalties.
“It’s awful,” Edwardsville coach Matt Martin said, shaking his head. “I don’t know what to say. I told our kids, ‘There were things going on on this field that I haven’t seen from a Tiger football team in a long, long time,’ and that’s not what we’re about.
“I know, deep down, they want to do good. But it starts Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. If you do it right in practice, you’ll execute on Friday. It’s not always about winning and losing; it’s how you play. It’s effort, it’s execution.”
The Panthers (0-4, 0-2) took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on a 52-yard field goal by senior Tucker McCann and a 5-yard touchdown run by senior Kentrail Moran. But O’Fallon was compromised by penalties, too, committing 11 for 100 yards.
O’Fallon is winless after four games for the first time since the 2000 season.
“We were able to jump on them quickly, but whether it was penalties or field position or a few breakdowns on plays, we put them back in it,” Panthers coach Brandon Joggerst said. “They scored 10 points on us right before the half (ended) and kind of swung the momentum.”
Edwardsville regained its footing with two late scores in the final 2:19 of the first half. Morrissey had a 6-yard TD run to make it 10-7, and junior Riley Patterson hammered a 29-yard field goal with two second to play in the second quarter to tie the game at 10 at halftime.
Capturing the momentum was key, as the Tigers used it to pull away in the second half.
Senior quarterback Riley Jones hit senior Chrys Colley with a 34-yard TD pass to make it 17-10 midway through the third quarter, and Morrissey’s 7-yard TD run on the Tigers’ next possession made it 24-10 with 2:30 left in the third quarter.
Morrissey was a load once again with 20 carries for 111 yards and two TDs. Davis had 14 rushes for 65 yards. Moran had 22 carries for 75 yards for O’Fallon.
Edwardsville junior defensive end A.J. Epenesa blocked a 57-yard field goal attempt by McCann early in the fourth quarter, and the Tigers got second-half interceptions from Colley and senior Jourdyn Jones.
All the points came with the wind into the north end zone.
“I’m grateful for the win,” Martin said. “I could be sitting here losing to a very good coaching staff and team, but I’m not happy. We’re just not executing. As a coaching staff, we’ve got to do better. We’ve got to do something different because it’s not changing. We’ve got to figure it out.”
JOGGERST ON STARTING 0-4
“We’ve still got to keep fighting, keep battling,” he said. “It’s an important time to stick together and not point fingers. If you want to point fiingers, point them at me. These kids have worked hard and deserve a better fate. That’s life sometimes.”
Edwardsville will play host to Belleville East at 7 p.m. Friday. O’Fallon will play at Alton, also at 7 p.m. Friday.