Photos by Randy Meyers | Oberlin News-Tribune
Oberlin’s Kobe Fields is tackled by Clearview’s Antonio Bennett after a long run in the second quarter.
Breakdowns on special teams Friday hurt the Phoenix in a 39-7 loss to the Clearview Clippers.
Clearview’s Jamel Billings was spot on for his team early in the game, returning a punt to give the Clippers a six-point lead.
Oberlin struggled to find a rhythm offensively in the first half. It was not until the end of the second quarter when the Phoenix were able to break through the Clippers defense and get into the red zone.
Quarterback David Payne ran in for a two-yard touchdown to pull within 14.
Billings found the ball on the kickoff and returned it for a touchdown to extend his team’s lead 26-7 at the end of the second quarter.
“Special teams was the big spot where he was able to hurt us,” said head coach Michael Law, who went into the game with a plan to shut down Billings offensively by putting two defensive players on him most of the game.
He said the kickoff return before halftime affected his team’s momentum. “We were just getting into the groove of things offensively.”
“We have to play better than we have these last two games,” the second-year head coach said. “It’s all about preparation. For us it’s about finding ways to get the most out of our athletes on opposite sides of the ball and find match-ups that are favorable and try to isolate those match-ups as much as possible.”
The Phoenix will take on the Fairview Warriors at 7 p.m. Friday at Oberlin College’s Austin E. Knowlton Athletics Complex, 210 Woodland St.
Law expects his team to be excited to play at the college stadium and is hoping Oberlin will find its spark early.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.