Lethargic first half leads to Lions' loss

Jacob Dunn (#1) tackles Gavin Parker (#11) on Thursday. Elmira dismantled the Lions’ defense in the first half. JOSHUA LEACH/CG SENTINEL

Early turnovers and penalties put Cottage Grove down big early in Thursday night’s matchup with the Elmira Falcons.

The Falcons (3-3, 2-1 league) came out hungry on defense early, forcing fumbles and capitalizing on bobbled snaps by the Lions (0-6, 0-3 league). The game looked like it might be a defensive battle, with the Lions forcing a turnover on downs as the Falcons threatened in the red zone after their first fumble recovery, but Elmira rattled off 50 straight points in the first half en route to a 50-0 halftime lead.

“We hurt ourselves a lot,” said Lions head coach Chad Smith of the first half of the game. “[Elmira’s] a team we can come and compete with. We just made a few mistakes and shot ourselves in the foot a little bit.”

The Lions came out of the locker room with a little more fire on defense, holding the Falcons scoreless in the third frame and to just three points total in the second half. 

“We talked about getting better,” Smith said. “So that’s what we did. We cut down on some of those mistakes that we had.”

The field looked like a clothesline at times as flags flew with reckless abandon. The Cottage Grove faithful made their displeasure with the game’s officiating heard loud and clear through all four quarters. Smith had no comment on the officiating.

“It’s something that’s out of my control,” Smith said. “Those are things we can’t worry about. We just gotta go out and play the game we know how to play.”

Cottage Grove’s last home game this season is against third-ranked and undefeated La Grande on Friday before they hit the road to wrap up the season against a winless Junction City squad on October 25.

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