The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

By Brandon Cline
Managing Editor 

Broncos drop to 1-3, look ahead to league opener


Last updated 10/3/2019 at 12:16pm

Journal photo by Brandon Cline

LRS running back Austin Thompson evades a defender as he tries to run for a first down.

The Lind-Ritzville/Sprague Broncos football team ended its early season non-league schedule on a down note, falling 34-13 to the Columbia (Burbank) Coyotes to drop to 1-3 (0-0 in league play) on the season.

The Bronco defense limited the Coyotes to just 62 passing yards on 3-12 passing but gave up 261 rushing yards, including an 86-yard touchdown run early in the opening quarter. Offensively, Columbia outgained LRS 323-217, despite the Broncos running six more plays and winning the time of possession by three minutes.

Columbia took a 13-0 lead late in the first quarter following an interception from LRS quarterback Drew Kelly that was returned for a touchdown. The 13-point lead would last for just 13 seconds, as LRS running back Austin Thompson would return the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown to pull the Broncos within 7. Thompson also returned a punt for a touchdown in the Broncos' win against Northwest Christian on Sept. 13.

The Broncos leveled the score at 13 just 20 seconds into the second quarter and exacted some revenge on Columbia, as Columbia quarterback Dylan Frimodt was intercepted by LRS defensive back Spencer Gering, who returned the interception for a score. It's the first defensive score for the Broncos on the season.

The Coyotes and Frimodt responded a couple of minutes later to regain the lead, as Frimodt connected with a receiver for a 22-yard touchdown pass to take a 20-13 lead. Frimodt would score again in the third quarter, this time using his legs to score on a three-yard touchdown run to put Columbia ahead 27-13. The Coyotes added another rushing touchdown with 46 seconds left in the game, when the outcome was no longer in doubt.

Kelly finished the game 13-31 passing for 94 yards and one interception. The 31 passes are the most he's thrown in a game so far on the season.

It was a productive day at the office for Thompson, who ran for 109 yards on 22 carries to go with his kick return for a touchdown. Gering had the other score for the Broncos with his pick-6, and also rushed five times for 31 yards.

One of the key stats in the game, unsurprisingly, was how the teams fared on third and fourth down. LRS converted just 3 of 16 third down attempts (18.8%) and 1 of 6 fourth down attempts (16.7%). While Columbia was even worse than LRS on third downs, converting just 1 of 16 attempts (6.3%), they were a perfect 5 for 5 on fourth down attempts, allowing them to extend drives and keep the LRS offense on the sidelines.

"That's just getting yourself in good situations throughout the game and not putting yourself in bad situations through a penalty, a sack, a bad snap or whatever it may be," said LRS head coach Greg Whitmore. "That's what we continue to struggle with, and we're working at it in the fact that I think it's largely mental ... we seem to be able to find ways to make mistakes when we have opportunities. To me that's a mental thing, it's not a physical thing."

Another key stat in the game was the turnover battle, which the Broncos lost 3-2. While LRS intercepted Frimodt twice, they were intercepted twice themselves-one from Kelly and one from Chase Galbreath-and lost a fumble. These mental errors, Whitmore said, are what's hurting the team's offense more than any physical factor.

"That's some of the stuff we're trying to do with our Winning Mindset program," said Whitmore. "It's a process and it's going to take awhile, but we just seem to be in a situation or period of time where we're just not mentally tough enough right now and don't have the mental toughness to focus to finish drives off and finish series off and get a first down."

On the season, LRS is now a combined 14 of 61 on third and fourth down attempts (23%). Their opponents haven't fared any better, however, going a combined 15 of 65 on third and fourth down attempts (23.1%).

With the early non-league schedule behind them, LRS has now set its sights squarely on its fellow Northeast 2B South league teams, beginning with a home tilt against the Colfax Bulldogs this Friday. While Whitmore says Colfax won't physically intimidate a team with their size, he says it's their speed that can wreak havoc on opponents.

"They're not a large, intimidating team, but they've got good speed, good toughness and are extremely well-coached," said Whitmore. "It's both our league openers, so it's a huge game for both of us. We're going to have to play an awfully good game. They've got three or four players that are their bread and butter that we have to take away, and if we can't take them away it's going to be a long night."

Colfax enters the game with a 3-1 record (0-0 in league play) on the season, including a 28-26 win against a Davenport team that LRS lost to by 15 points in the first week of the season.

Kickoff between LRS and Colfax is set for 7 p.m. on Oct. 4 at Jimmie Snider Field in Ritzville.


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