Southern Lab coach Nick Mitchell knew his team had their work cut out for them against a powerful Ouachita Christian squad.
Six turnovers and a blocked punt didn’t help his squad’s chances in a 52-6 loss to Ouachita Christian in the Division IV title game.
“Going into the game, we felt like our game plan was right where it needed to be,” Mitchell said. “We knew this was going to be a tough ballgame. We knew that OCS being here is sort of a regular thing for them, and that is what we are trying to do for our program.”
After forcing a turnover of on the first Ouachita Christian possession, the turnover bug began to infect the Kittens offense when Bladrick Veal was intercepted by Mavrick Wilhite. Two plays later, Chance Clowers took it in from 41 yards out to give OCS a 7-0 lead.
A forced fumble, two more interceptions and a blocked punt would all lead to points for the Eagles and make their lead insurmountable.
“Anytime you are playing against a team that has the scoring ability OCS has, you have to almost play perfect football,” Mitchell said. “That was our goal coming into the game. We wanted to limit our turnovers early in the game and put ourselves in a position where we could compete late in the game with a chance to win. The turnovers dictated the game early on.”
Despite the turnovers and mistakes, Mitchell didn’t try to make any excuses for his team’s performance.
“We are not going to make excuses for anything in our program,” he said. “We made mistakes, and they capitalized on those mistakes. That is pretty much the bottom line. When you have opportunities to score the ball, you have to take advantage. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that this afternoon.
“From our standpoint, our defense was prepared. We put them in bad situations a couple of times where they had to work with short fields. We didn’t allow them to get off the field as much as we would have liked, but to their credit they did stand up multiple times throughout the game.”
Playing in his final prep game, senior linebacker Javahn Ferguson was proud that he and his teammates never gave up, regardless of the score.
“Pretty much all year, our mentality has been to smother the opposing offenses, and in most of the games this year, we have been able to accomplish that,” he said. “We were able to stop them on the first drive. We knew that they were a good team.It was like a boxing match. When you got hit, you wanted to hit back. We just missed too many punches.”