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First half effort against Oneida not enough for Wartburg to earn first win

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By Taylor Crombie

The Wartburg Bulldogs opened region play with a 46-6 loss at Oneida Friday night, but Bulldog head coach Kevin Human was happy with how his team played with all things considered.

For the second week in a row, Wartburg played hung around through the first half and only trailed the Indians 13-6 at halftime.

“Coming here tonight, I had 14 kids that weren’t dressed out, so that put our roster down to 28 playing a team that has 62 or so,” Human said. “We had a good first half. I was really proud of the guys’ effort. They came out, they were playing hard. Right now we’re just hurting for depth.”

The Bulldogs are still working through injuries early on, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Wartburg down the stretch. With younger players having to step up now, the Bulldogs should have some depth for later in the season.

It was a scoreless game at the end of the first quarter, but Oneida struck early in the second. The Bulldogs were making their way down the field and were set to pick up a big first down when Oneida stripped the ball away from Josh Moore. There was a bit of confusion as to what the call was, but Oneida recovered the ball and took it to the house for the first score of the game. After the PAT, the Indians took a 7-0 lead.

Undeterred, the Bulldogs answered on their next drive.

Wartburg was granted excellent field position at the Indians’ 13-yard line thanks to a personal foul on Oneida, but were quickly faced with fourth-and-11. After two incomplete passes, Moore hit Caleb McCarty with a 14-yard pass in the end zone for a touchdown. Wartburg elected to go for two in effort to take the lead, but Moore’s pass fell incomplete, leaving Wartburg trailing 7-6.

The Indians started their next drive on their own 26-yard line, but Wartburg let Bryson Buttram through for a 62-yard touchdown to extend Oneida’s lead to 13-6.

McCarty made an impressive catch for a 33-yard gain on Wartburg’s next drive, but the Bulldogs were not able to reach the end zone and went into the locker room still down 13-6.

Fatigue set in for Wartburg in the second half, allowing the Indians to blow the game wide open in a hurry. After it was all said and done, Oneida took the teams’ first region contest 46-6.

On the bright side, the Bulldogs’ toughest stretch of the season is behind them with three winnable games in a row in September.

This Friday, Wartburg has the chance to win its first home game in five years when the Oakdale Eagles come to town.

“I try to keep telling the kids we’ve got a chance to do something every week we play,” Human said. “It’s been years since Wartburg football has won a game at home and that’s something I feel like they can accomplish this week if they come out and play hard for four quarters.”

Oakdale is 1-2 so far with a win against Jellico in Week 2, but the Eagles lack depth with such a small roster. Even still, Human expects it to be a competitive county rivalry game.

“I know their seniors down there because I coached them and I know how tough they are,” he said. “They’re not going to lay down.”