HAMPSHIRE – DeKalb almost overcame its second straight slow start, but a missed extra point and a few failed 2-point conversions were the difference in a 35-34 loss to Hampshire on Friday.
After allowing Vernon Hills to score 10 quick points in last week’s win, the Barbs couldn’t quite overcome two early touchdowns by the Whip-Purs.
“We’ve got a young team, and we’re still trying to build confidence right now, so that’s kind of why we’re starting out slow,” quarterback Jack Sauter said. “To me, the first quarter is kind of a blur to us right now, it’s a little too fast-paced. If we can get that down and slow the game down, that’s what it’s all about. … It’s hard to come back when a team gets that much momentum early. I’m proud ... of the way we kept fighting.”
Hampshire scored two rushing TDs early, with running back Chris Calvin breaking free for 74 yards and Nick Kielbasa scoring from eight yards out.
After gaining no yards in the first quarter, the Barbs began to chip away at the Hampshire lead in the second when Sauter ran for 13- and 4-yard touchdowns.
The Whips answered to make the score 21-12 at the half.
After being bottled up for most of the first half, running back Dre Brown broke through for a 59-yard touchdown scamper after halftime.
The Whips and Barbs traded TDs, with Kielbasa scoring again before Sauter found Rudy Lopez for a 10-yard touchdown to make it 28-26.
Hampshire came back to score on its next drive, with receiver Tim Jansen catching a 13-yard TD pass from Mohlman to give the Whip-Purs a two-possession lead.
The Barbs scored once more when Sauter fumbled at the Hampshire 2-yard line, but Lopez recovered it in the end zone. After a 2-point conversion, the Barbs couldn’t recover an onside kick.
“We’ve only been at this for several months with this offense,” Sauter said. “It’s fairly new and we’ve got a lot of juniors on this team. There’s no doubt in my mind that, as we get into the later weeks of the season, we’ll be ready to go. We’re going to be improving all season, there’s no doubt about that.”