Spartans drop fourth straight
South Caldwell fought to the last seconds of the game in an emotional 19-14 defeat Friday night at home against Patton. The Spartans have now lost their last four games.
Penalties and turnovers were the Spartans’ Achilles’ heel, but two big-play touchdowns from Patton early in the game would put them out of reach.
South Caldwell Head Coach Butch Carter called the game “terrible,” saying that the Spartans couldn’t capitalize when they needed to and that they are continuing to find their identity as a football team.
The Spartans were given a gift right at the start of the game, when Patton quarterback Nick Conklin threw an interception to South’s Gavin Reed on the first play of the game.
But South could not capitalize, a theme that would reappear throughout the rest of the game. South gave the ball right back to the Panthers with a fumble just two plays into its opening drive.
On the next possession, Patton struck on a big 45-yard pass from Conklin to Russell Cuthbertson, but weren’t able to make the extra point, leaving the score at 6-0 with 8:38 to go in the first.
The rest of the quarter was slow for both teams, but on the first play of the second quarter, Patton’s Sampson Cuthbertson broke away for a 79-yard touchdown run, and with a successful extra point, put the Panthers up 13-0 with 11:47 in the half.
South struck right back with some offensive success of their own, putting together three consecutive first downs as soon as they got the ball back, but would eventually punt.
The rest of the quarter was a stalemate, with South and Patton swapping punts before going into the half with the score still at 13-0.
South came out of the locker room rejuvenated to start the third quarter, marching down to the end zone in eight plays to finally get on the scoreboard via a 12-yard run by Adam Watson. And after a successful point after, the Spartans moved within one score of the Panthers, at 13-7.
The rest of the third was hard-fought offensively, and that didn’t change at the start of the fourth.
A South drive ended up at fourth and seven deep in Patton territory, and an incomplete pass looked like a turnover, but a personal foul gave the Spartans an automatic first down at Patton’s 15-yard line.
After a 5-yard run by Watson, a 10-yard run by Reed gave the Spartans their second, and final, touchdown, with 9:11 left in the game.
On the next possession, Patton strung together a 12-play drive that took up nearly seven minutes and ended in a 1-yard touchdown run by Conklin, but he wasn’t able to connect on the pas for the two-point conversion, and left the score at 14-19, just in reach for the Spartans.
South came out swinging for their next possession, but after a quick first down, Spartan quarterback Trevar Soles threw an interception to Patton’s Ethan Roper, giving the ball back to the Panthers with about a minute and a half left in the game.
But Patton gave South one more chance, fumbling a pitch in the backfield that was recovered by the Spartans, giving them one last chance to score a touchdown in the final 1:17 of the game.
After three plays gained only four yards, Soles completed a 35-yard pass to Reed, moving into Patton territory and giving the Spartans some last-minute hope. But after a couple quick passes, South was looking at fourth and 15 with nine seconds left, and Soles’ final incomplete pass ended the game, with the Spartan’s last touchdown just out of reach.
PATTON 19, SOUTH CALDWELL 14
First Downs, ^10^19
PATTON^6^7^0^6 – 19
SOUTH CALDWELL^0^0^7^7 – 14
P—Nick Conklin 45 pass to Russel Cuthbertson (Jevon Morris kick no good) 8:38
P—Sampson Cuthbertson 79 run (Morris kick good) 11:47
SC—Adam Watson 12 run (Matthews kick good) 8:30
SC—Gavin Reed 10 run (Matthews kick good) 9:11
P—Nick Conklin 1 run (2pt no good, Conklin’s pass deflected) 2:24
RUSHING — Patton: Sampson Cuthbertson 12-130, Nick Conklin 19-72, Collins Hamer 2-(-1), Isiah Williams 1-(-7) Tyriq Ervin 1-6, Team -18. South Caldwell: Gavin Reed 12-78, Garrison Drum 2-14, Adam Watson 14-87, Trevar Soles 1-5.
PASSING — Patton: Nick Conklin 4-11-1, 93 yards. South Caldwell: Trevar Soles 8-29-1, 120 yards.
RECEIVING — Patton: Russell Cuthbertson 1-45, Marcus Whitner 1-5, Sampson Cuthbertson 1-17, Ethan Roper 1-26. South Caldwell: Garrison Drum 2-37, Adam Watson 1-10, Noah Bradshaw 2-23, Nick Matthews 2-15, Gavin Reed 1-35.