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Football Dealt Loss in Ca., Seeks First Win Against Earlham

by Rick Kocher

This week the Oberlin College football team returned from steamy southern California with their second loss of the season, 51-0. Though shutout by opponent Pomona-Pitzer, one of the best teams on Oberlinıs schedule this season, the Yeoman have much to build on and to look forward to in future weeks.

After a six hour flight and a week of preparation, Oberlin got off to a great start. The first offensive play was a run by freshman Derek Eggers for a gain of 26 yards. The second play was also a handoff to Eggers went for a gain of 14 yards. Pomona then adjusted their defense, by sacrificing eight or nine men to stop the run and pressure the quarterback. Unfortunately, Oberlinıs offense wasnıt able to counter these adjustments effectively and struggled for the rest of the game, getting only four first downs after the initial two.

The defense, on the other hand, showed signs of greatness for the second straight week. The ³Redshirtıs² (Yeoman defense) held Pomona scoreless for nearly 13 minutes to start the game. However, field position, injuries, and fatigue set in and allowed 49 points. The remaining two points were scored by an offensive safety.

With a 51-0 score one may think that there are really few positives to take from the game, but Oberlin was plus-three in the turnover ratio this week, grabbing three fumbles and only giving up one, compared to the six turnovers they handed to Swarthmore. The Yeoman also had seven tackles for loss, two by Freshman Matt Usher, including a sack. Another positive was the performance of Junior College transfer Tim Salazar . Salazar played a solid game in the defensive backfield with an interception, three tackles, and three pass deflections.

The Yeomenıs biggest improvement of the season is depth, something that clearly helped Saturday. With a first week injury to freshman Quammie Semper, and added game time difficulties like muscle cramps and fatigue, the defensive backfield had to make adjustments to slow down Pomonaıs passing attack. Saftey Dave Smolev and safety Mark Lengel were moved to corner and the second stringers stepped in to take their place.

The improvement of depth is attributed to a hard working off-season by head coach Jeff Ramsey and his staff, who increased the number of players from around 30 last year to over 50 this season, a great improvement considering the loss of 8 letter winners. The acquisition of approximately 34 freshman is a huge accomplishment. If one adds that number up over a four year span, Oberlins roster would be well over 100, which is typical for playoff caliber teams in college football.

This week the Yeomen will focus on Earlham, their first conference game of the season. With sophomore Cody McCoy and freshman Quammie Semper both returning from injury, Oberlinıs offense and defense will get a helpful boost.

Coach Ramsey stated, ³They (Earlham) are a solid team, weıll have to play hard every down to beat them.²

Oberlin and Earlhamıs past two games have been very competitive. Last year Earlham finished on top 29-27, and they also were victorious 19-14 two seasons ago.

If Oberlin is going to win this weekend, the offense needs to start making some plays, and at worse keep the defense, and Earlhams offense, off the field.

Ramsey sounded optimistic concerning the upcoming game, saying ³The errors we have made are all correctable, we just need to fix them.² If Oberlinıs offense scores some points, the defense stops the big plays and a big, loud crowd is there to cheer them on, Oberlin could walk away with their first win this weekend. Kickoff is on Saturday, at 1:30 on Oberlinıs Dill Field.

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Copyright © 2000, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 129, Number 2, September 15, 2000

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