Blue Jerseys with Blue Collars
December 9, 2021
Editors Note: This column originally ran in Issue 1 of the 2021-2022 academic year. The printed publication date was October 6th 2021.
I’d like to start this with an introduction just so we understand each other clearly. It’ll help you understand my view point just a little further. My name is Brandt Williamson. I’m a senior and it’s my third year starting left tackle for the Millikin Big Blue football team. My freshman year, I played Tight End in most games even though I was a bad football player my freshman year. I graduated from Westville High School in east central Illinois, which is located thirty minutes east of Champaign. Now that we have a basic understanding of each other, let’s talk about this past weekend.
As an offensive player, going into a game knowing that you’ll have to score 50 to 60 points to win can weigh on you. We felt this way as an offense because of previous matchups with Carthage, losing in 2019, 53-50 on a field goal as time expired, and the spring of 2021, losing 41-19. Every year they seem to always dial it up on offense against us and the only way to counter that is with our own explosive offense.
All week we felt confident as an offense that we would be able to move the ball and put-up points, more specifically we felt good about our run game against their inexperienced defensive line and linebackers, who returned 1 starter in these groups. Our focus was to bludgeon them up front and take the top off the defense with the deep ball when they decided to commit to stopping the run.
Especially with our receivers, more specifically Colton Lockwood. Lockwood being 6’4” 230 already creates matchup problems, but when Carthage decided to have a freshman cornerback defend him, the kid had no chance. We knew we could obliterate them in any way that we wanted to, which we did, but our Achilles heel was our turnovers.
We turned the ball over 4 times, 2 fumbles and 2 interceptions. As an offensive tackle these turnovers can be frustrating because while I do block for our skill guys to make plays, I can’t control whether we turn the ball over or not, as I only block 1 person per play, to put it simply. With these turnovers, to me it felt as if these turnovers snowballed together, coming into the game we knew we had to score almost every time we touched it, with turnovers this only becomes amplified. As an offense I could feel our energy after each turnover, it felt like we started to play tight and anxiously, like we were playing not to lose, rather than playing to win.
This loss hurt. We wanted to win this game to propel us into the meat of the season with a renewed self-confidence as a team. We still feel confident in our abilities as an offense, to make plays, put up points, and to capitalize on opportunities. In the CCIW these are things you must do to be competitive; a whole lot more goes into winning a game.