An inability to hold onto the football put Robinson High School's football team in a hole they could not climb out of Friday night (Oct. 25).
The Maroons turned the ball over four times and all four miscues led to points for host Olney and contributed heavily toward the 26-13 loss for RHS in the Little Illini Conference contest.
"You can't put the ball on the ground four times against a good team and expect to win," RHS head coach Casey Pinnell said. "We had our chances. Athletically we were right there with them and it was a good, hard-hitting football game, but some undisciplined mistakes cost us a win once again."
Both teams were playing to a stalemate through the first quarter, until the first RHS turnover set Olney up in scoring position. After the Tigers recovered the first of four RHS fumbles, they capitalized with 17.4 seconds left on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Austin Nuttall to Quinn Miller for a 6-0 lead.
Early in the second quarter, Robinson would fumble again and Olney recovered again. They would pay off the turnover with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Nuttall to Jace Greenwood, making the score 13-0 after the extra point with 9:29 remaining. The Maroons them fumbled on the ensuing kickoff and once again, Olney recovered. This time, the RHS defense was able to hold, but Olney's Jonas Burckhartt kicked a 31-yard field goal to extend the advantage to 16-0 with 6:44 left in the half.
Robinson was able to respond just before halftime, as Ely Parker threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Mason Krause with 3.8 seconds to play and Jared Hermann added the extra point to bring the Maroons to within 16-7 at intermission.
The Maroons appeared to be climbing their way back in the game early in the third quarter, as they marched into the red zone, only for the turnover bug to bite them again. This time, the RHS fumble was scooped up by Greenwood and returned 85 yards for a touchdown to extend the Olney lead to 23-7 with 4:51 left in period.
Robinson finally got back on the scoreboard with 5:47 remaining in the fourth quarter one a one-yard touchdown run by Levi Dickerson, but the two-point conversion attempt that would have pulled the Maroons to within eight was no good.
Olney then tacked on a 22-yard field goal by Burckhartt with 2:02 remaining to seal the win.
Robinson actually outgained Olney 235-171, but the four turnovers by RHS to none for Olney proved to be too much to overcome for the Maroons.
For the first time all season, Robinson's rushing attack was slowed down a bit, as the Maroons were held to just 98 yards on the ground. Tyler Beard again led RHS with 69 yards rushing on 24 attempts, while Parker ran eight times for 25 yards.
However, the Maroons did have their best game of the season throwing the ball, with 137 yards on 10-23 passing. Wes Jackson completed 7-15 passes for 109 yards, while Parker threw for 28 yards on 3-8 passing with a touchdown. Parker was also the leading receiver for RHS with four catches for 78 yards, while Krause caught two passes for 23 yards and a touchdown and Beard added a 15-yard reception.
Nuttall led Olney with 71 yards passing and two touchdowns, with Miller catching five passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. Dorn was the leading rusher with 54 yard son 14 carries, while Nuttall added 28 yards and Greenwood caught two passes for 22 yards and a touchdown and ran once for 13 yards in addition to his fumble return touchdown.
Robinson ended its season with a 3-6 record, including 3-5 in the LIC.
"This group underachieved and I put a lot of that on my shoulders," Pinnell said. "We were a young group in terms of discipline, maturity and understanding how to not necessarily finish, but how to start games and play well from the beginning. But, the boys played hard all the time and none of our mistakes were effort mistakes. The effort was always there and that is something we are really proud of. A lot of that comes from this senior group with their don't give up attitude and we hope that spreads through the rest of our guys. We are going to miss those guys and we'll have some big holes to fill."
Robinson 0 7 0 6 - 13
Olney 13 3 7 3 - 26
RCHS 1Q (0:17.4) Austin Nuttall 15 pass to Quinn Miller (kick failed)