Playing Smarter


Rob SgarlataSaturday afternoon we traveled to Easton, Pennsylvania to play Lafayette in our second league game.  We lost to the Leopards in a close game 24-21.  At times, we played our best football of the year.  At the end of the day, we did not take care of the details and did not do enough of the little things to win.  Throughout the season, I have been asked about how we prepare for different opponents.  Additionally, I am asked to describe my major concerns from week to week.  My answer always comes back to the same concept: I am concerned about the Hoyas!  As a staff, we preach to take care of the little things so the big things will take care of themselves.

The first half is a great example of how far we have come this season, and how far we still need to go.  On Lafayette’s first drive, defensive back Garrett Powers intercepted a Blake Searfoss pass.  Quarterback Kyle Nolan immediately went to work on a five play, 57 yard drive that produced our first touchdown of the day. On the drive, Nolan was 3-for-3 passing with a 15 yard yard run.  Running back Jo’el Kimpela added a 15-yard rush of this own.  Nolan connected with tight end Matt Buckman on a seven-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring.  On the next drive, Peter Daibes recovered a Lafayette fumble and returned it to the Lafayette 13 yard line.  Our offense drove the ball to the two yard line where we were flagged for an illegal block.  On 4th down we lined up to kick a field goal which was blocked by Lafayette.  The block was the direct result of us not taking care of the little things, alignments and communication.

Following this block, our defense stepped up to the challenge and forced a three and out.  Our offense then went on a 10 play, 80 yard drive which featured the strong running of running backs Jo’el Kimpela and Danny Wright and a 21 yard completion by Kyle Nolan to wide receiver Justin Hill.  Kimpela put an explanation point on the drive with a powerful 19 yard touchdown run.  This drive was a great example of our offensive line, tight ends and full backs working together to control the line of scrimmage.

The second part of the first half was not as productive.  Offensively, we committed two penalties which killed a drive and allowed a sack fumble, which stopped our second drive.  On special teams, we allowed an 81 yard punt return which set up Lafayette’s first score and then defensively we allowed a 10 play, 60 yard drive for a touchdown.  Both the punt return and Lafayette’s second touchdown drive were the result of not taking care of the little details.

The second half also featured stretches of our best football of the season and some of our worst.  Offensively in the third quarter, two of our three drives were stopped by offensive penalties.  Defensively, Porter Huntley stopped one of Lafayette’s drives with his first interception of the season and Alec May ended another with a sack.  Lafayette was able to kick a field goal to take a 17-14 lead into the fourth quarter.

On the first drive of the 4th quarter, our offense put together an impressive nine-play 55 yard drive capped by a six yard pass from Kyle Nolan to Justin Hill to give us a 21-17 lead. Unfortunately, we were not able to hang onto the lead as Lafayette put together a nine-play, 63 yard drive to take a 24-21 lead.  On the next drive, we were stopped on 3rd and 4th and 1 from the Lafayette 37 yard line.  Our defense did their jobs and got us the ball back with 1:16 left of the clock.  Unfortunately, Lafayette sealed with win with an interception on the second play of the drive.

After looking at the stat sheet, the positives jump off of the page.  Offensively, we had our most productive day of the season.  Both running backs, Jo’el Kimpela and Danny Wright, ran for over 100 yards.  Kyle Nolan was 22-of-30 passing and threw for two touchdowns to Matt Buckman and Justin Hill.  We held the time of possession advantage by over ten minutes and had 447 yards of total offense.  Defensively, we held Lafayette to 250 yards of total offense.  Our two running backs outrushed Lafayette’s entire offense by a tally of 282 to 250.  We forced three turnovers and Alex May had three sacks and three tackles for a loss.  Unfortunately, the negatives also jump off of the page.  We committed nine penalties for a total of 115 yards.  On special teams, we allowed an 80 yard punt return which turned into a touchdown and had a field goal blocked.

The devil is in the details.  At the end of the day, the scoreboard reflects how many points you earn and how many points you allow. The score they print in the paper on Saturday does not include yards rushing or turnovers forced.  In critical situations, we were unable to convert a 3rd or 4th and 1.  We were also unable to hold onto a 4 point lead in the fourth quarter.  These situations are won by paying attention to the little things.

I would like to congratulate senior defensive end Alec May and junior running back Jo’el Kimpela on earning the Corvais Patriot League weekly honorable mention for their respective performances.  This is May’s fourth weekly honor this season.  He is leading the Patriot League and all of FCS with 12.5 sacks this season.  Jo’el had the best day of his career with 159 yards on 20 carries with a 19 yard touchdown and was a force throughout the game.  A highlight of the full game can be found here.

We are heading into our first bye week of the season and it comes at a perfect time.  After seven weeks, it will be good for our players to get a break both physically and mentally.  Our staff will be on the road recruiting.  Our players will be focusing on academics and career development.  We will get a jump start on our preparations for a very good 5-1 Bucknell team who will come to the Hilltop for Homecoming in two weeks.

At our team meeting on Sunday, I told the team that I am very happy with our overall effort.  If you have seen us play this season, you can see the effort that our players give on each and every play. I also told the team that we must start to play smart, as well as hard.  In spite of the penalties and missed assignments, we still were in the game versus a good Patriot League team until the last drive of the game.  I am happy with our progress, but not satisfied with the results.  We will work this week to play smarter and work towards a victory versus Bucknell.

The Georgetown Football family is truly amazing.  This past week, former Hoya player Henry Bowe made special arrangements to visit with our team.  Henry works for Goldman Sachs and he spent an hour visiting with our players and advising them about Wall Street and his path.  As always, I also want to thank Robbin Robinson and Bruce Simmons for another great showing in Easton.  The Gridiron Club did not let a little pregame rain dampen the Hoya spirit as they moved the tailgate indoors.  It is awesome to see the blue and gray represented wherever and whenever we play.

I hope you have a great week and I look forward to seeing you for Homecoming onOctober 25 versus Bucknell!

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Rob Sgarlata

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