The mood Saturday morning in the coaches' office at Patterson Field matched the overcast, drizzling weather outside.
East Liverpool Potter head coach Rick Prescott was somber as he talked about his team's play in Friday night's 27-25 loss to Cambridge.
"When you look at the stats, we won the battle of the stats," said the third-year Potter mentor. "However, turnovers, field position, and special teams were the deciding factors, and we came up short in those areas."
The Potters outgained their guests by 348 yards to 244 yards in total offense. They had 21 first downs compared to Cambridge's 12. East Liverpool was only flagged for seven penalties (40 yards) compared to Cambridge's 12 (96 yards).
However, the Potters lost two fumbles and threw one interception.
Five times, Cambridge took possession of the ball on the East Liverpool side of the fifty at the 33, 12, 46, 39 and 25 respectively.
"As a unit, our defense played very solid," said Prescott. "We kept making our defense play with a short field. The one time in particular, I was pretty happy to hold them to a field goal."
The possession Prescott was referring to was when Cambridge set up shop on the Potter 25, following a blazing kickoff return by Ivan Gadson. Gadson had actually made it into the end zone but a holding penalty versus Cambridge brought the ball back to the Potter 25-yard line. After an intense defensive stand, the Bobcats settled for a 34-yard field goal and a 20-13 lead.
"We were pretty happy that we were able to keep them out of the end zone on that series," said Prescott.
On the ensuing kickoff, Marcus Beebout broke loose on a 97-yard kickoff return, bringing the Potters to within one, at 20-19.
"Lack of effort wasn't a problem," said the Potter coach. "Our kids played the entire 48 minutes."
Prescott was pleased with the effort of quarterback Kade Reynolds, saying, "Kade played a very, very solid game. He has continued to get better and better each week. His passing game decisions are drastically better than earlier in the season. He is doing a great job of running the offense."
Reynolds misfired on his first three passes, before regrouping to connect on six of eight passes over one stretch of the game.
Prescott was also proud of the effort shown by Zach English and Beebout.
"Zach played a great game. Marcus Beebout played with as much emotion as anybody; neither one of those guys ever quits on a play."
As soon as Beebout crossed the goal line on his 97-yard kickoff return, the question came to mind, "What's the East Liverpool record for a kickoff return?"
Thanks to the detail work of Potter football historian Frank Dawson, it was easy to come up with the answer. Each season Dawson prepares an updated Potter football record book. He also prepares a flip chart which fits easily into a reporter's computer bag.
Within seconds, statistician Bill Devon and I were able to figure out that Beebout's 97-yard return had only been surpassed by 99-yarders by Eric Rayl in 1990 versus Edison Local, Tom Gill in 1994 versus West Geauga and Jeff Wright in 1997 versus Buckeye Local.
Dawson's recordkeeping made it easy to come up with an answer and to properly place Beebout's feat in Potter grid history.
The Potters host John Marshall Friday at Patterson Field on homecoming night. The Monarchs defeated Oak Glen 36-0 in their most recent outing. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m.