Penalties and Cramping plague Wolverines in 35-21 loss to Taft

Bennett Gross

Taft defeated the Wolverines 35-21 in the squad’s first road game of the season. After two straight home wins against City Section schools, the Wolverines avenged their week one loss to Loyola, but this defeat sets the team back to .500 with a 2-2 record.

The real stories of the night were the amount of penalties thrown and the high volume of injuries suffered by both sides. Play from both teams was sloppy, which caused a total of 20 flags to be thrown, including eight in the first quarter alone. Along with the infractions, both the Wolverines and the Toreadors had multiple players cramping throughout the second half of the game.

“We honestly don’t know why our players were cramping,” Trainer Amanda Zamani said. “When you are playing hard, there is really no explanation for why you cramp. It just happens.”

A possible explanation for these injuries could have been the playing surface, which consisted of dead grass, potholes, and mud spots.

Taft took an early 14-0 lead with 11 minutes to go in the second half, but the Wolverines did not quit without a fight.

Noah Rothman ’16 threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Nick O’Brien ’17 to bring the Wolverines within one touchdown of the lead.

Just three minutes later, Mike Mapes ’16 ran the ball in for a five-yard touchdown to tie up the score.

At the half, the Wolverines were only down by seven points, but the Toreadors took advantage of Harvard-Westlake’s miscues in the latter part of the game.

With defensive standouts Mapes, Phil Thompson ’16 and Cameron Jones ’18 on the sidelines due to cramping, Taft scored two quick touchdowns in the third quarter, making the score 35-14.

The Wolverines ended up converting one more touchdown on a Thompson two-yard run with 56 seconds left in the game, but it was too little, too late for a lethargic squad that was simply overmatched.

“Unfortunately this game did not go how we wanted,” Outside Linebacker Ben Cooper ’16 said. “We are going to work this week and prepare to win against Westchester.”

The Wolverines will try to revert back to their winning ways next Friday at Westchester High School.

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