Bluejays football opens season 1-1

Bluejays defensive end Myles Carroll charges the field on a game against Olivet College on Saturday, Sept. 10. (Photo by Kivin Woods)

The Elmhurst College football team lost 13-27 against the Olivet College Comets on Saturday.

Similar to their last game against Loras College, the Bluejays’ offense struggled during the first quarter. However unlike the Loras game, there was no fourth quarter comeback to secure the 28-27 Bluejay win.

Head coach Ron Planz offered up some reasons as to why things didn’t go the Bluejays way Saturday.

“We really hurt ourselves in a lot [of] situations today,” he said. “ All three phases of the game — penalties, turnovers, and poor decisions — proved to be too much for us to overcome.”

The Bluejays’ defense was slow out of the gate, allowing an eight play 47 yard touchdown as well as a field goal in the first quarter. However, they held firm the second quarter, sparked by an early interception by all conference player Sean Wetherell.

The defense was strong, allowing just three points for the rest of the half and holding the Comets to almost half the yards they had in the first quarter.

The Bluejays’ offense capitalized on the Wetherall turnover with a touchdown toss by Orlando Hernandez to senior Wideout Conor Brewer, resulting in a six-point lead by Olivet going into halftime.

Coming out of the half, the Bluejays’ forced Olivet into a punt situation but the Comets were bailed out by a punt fumble by Danny Bourgault.

The Comets’ forced one more turnover on the Bluejays, but it was their red zone offense and relentless defense that won them the game.

The Olivet football team had five more red zone opportunities than the Bluejays. They totaled less passing yards, but won the rushing battle by 52 yards.

The Comets’ defensive line was no slouch either, piling up five sacks throughout the contest and keeping Hernandez’s head on a swivel.

In the second half, junior wide receiver and former all-conference player Kaylon Miller had five receptions, racking up 139 receiving yards including a 65 yard touchdown catch.

Planz explained the importance of having Miller back on the field after missing much of last year with an arm injury.

“We have so much talent on this team. Every week anyone could be the guy to spark us,” he said.

“We need to make sure we are coming up with ways to get everyone involved so that we don’t become too predictable or reliant on any one person. That goes for offense, defense, and special teams.”

Unlike the Sept. 3 game at Loras College, there was no Bluejay comeback on Saturday. In the Loras game, the Elmhurst football team’s 19 point unanswered run in the fourth quarter carried the team to secure a late victory.

Coach Planz discussed how the team’s attributes contributed to the fourth quarter rally.

“The guys showed a lot of grit. They kept pounding away and kept the faith,” he said.

“I think [the] team has the right mindset,” he said.

“They know that every game has it’s ups and downs. I feel like understanding that allows us to have the type of comebacks we showed at Loras.”

That game was spotlighted by d3football.com as the national game of the week. The Bluejays will look to improve all areas of their team as they host the Vikings of North Park next week for the opening conference game on Sept. 17.

In anticipation of the upcoming opener, Planz offered up what he thinks the key to victory will be.

“We know the teams we face will be tough, well coached and hungry. We need to match that and make sure we play smart, physical football,” he said.